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Man who stabbed pizza manager gets 8-year term

A man who stabbed an Abby's restaurant manager in the chest during a robbery in February has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Kye Fisher, 31, of Grants Pass, told Josephine County Circuit Court Judge Lindi Baker at his sentencing Thursday that he regrets the attack every day. After the judge pointed out that his victim, Skeeter Brown, was in the courtroom, Fisher turned to face him.

"I am sorry," he said.

Brown did not respond. But afterward, Brown said he chose not to make a statement at the hearing because he had too much adrenaline pulsing through him. Brown pulled down the top of his shirt to reveal the scar tissue at the top of his chest, the result of the stabbing nearly four months ago. He said the wound still hurts sometimes.

The robbery occurred as Brown and other employees were closing up the Abby's pizzeria on Williams Highway the night of Feb. 20. The restaurant was open until 10 p.m. that night, and at about 9:40 p.m. Brown went into a side room to remove money from the video lottery machines.

The next thing he knew, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt, a black ski mask and gloves and holding a large knife was standing in the room and demanding the cash.

Brown refused to cooperate and a struggle ensued. He was stabbed as the robber swung the knife backward in an attempt to get Brown to let go of his sweatshirt, according to Grants Pass police.

Brown was bleeding as the stabber fled, dropping a wad of cash and his knife sheath as he ran.

A couple of days later, an anonymous tipster reported Fisher as a possible suspect in the stabbing. He was quickly arrested on a parole violation. During subsequent police interviews, Fisher told investigators he was a longtime methamphetamine addict, according to the affidavit.

Fisher was initially charged with first-degree assault and first-degree robbery. Prosecutors later dropped the assault charge and Fisher pleaded guilty to the robbery charge, a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory 90-month sentence.

Another 10 months was tacked on to his sentence for a separate case in which he burglarized two Grants Pass homes, stealing cash and a Glock pistol. Deputy prosecutor Lisa Turner said those charges came about because Fisher kept talking about the burglaries during his phone calls from the jail.

Fisher's attorney, Claudia Browne, said her client knew his calls were being recorded and openly discussed his other crimes because he wanted to be held responsible for them.

"It was the only way he could come up with to clear his slate," she said.

Browne said Fisher has been described as "a nice guy when he's not using (drugs)."

In handing down Fisher's 100-month sentence, Judge Baker acknowledged his lengthy rap sheet.

"You certainly have a little bit of everything on here," she said. "I mean, you have a lot of past criminal history."

His Josephine County record since 2002 includes convictions for meth possession, forgery, theft, auto theft, burglary and other crimes.

Fisher's Facebook page states that he worked at Taprock Northwest Grill, and police dispatchers received a tip the day after the Abby's robbery that Fisher planned to rob that restaurant, too, according to the search warrant affidavit. A manager at Taprock said Thursday that Fisher did maintenance at the restaurant for a short time but had quit before the Abby's incident.

Brown, the stabbing victim, said after Thursday's hearing that he doesn't accept Fisher's apology. He missed about five days of work because of his injury, and said the attack came during an already tough time. He has twin baby boys at home who require frequent medical care, and said the hospital copays for himself and the twins have added up.