Guilty plea avoids trial for mother who beat offender

The new neighbor was a convicted sex offender, so Tammy Lee Gibson attacked him with an aluminum baseball bat.

Gibson, a Pierce County resident, pleaded guilty Monday to third-degree assault stemming from the incident on June 16 of last year. It was a plea bargain, reduced from original charges of second-degree assault and felony harassment.

Gibson, 40, faces up to eight months in jail. Her sentencing is set for for Feb. 27 in Pierce County Superior Court.

Deputy prosecutor Sunni Ko said the guilty plea resolves a case that could have turned into a tricky trial. Initial police reports of the incident said the victim, William Allen Baldwin, might have suffered a broken arm. He didn’t.

Charging papers said Gibson saw fliers announcing that Baldwin, a Level 3 sex offender, had moved into the 7900 block of River Road East to live with a relative. Gibson, armed with the small aluminum bat, went to the address and knocked. Baldwin answered the door.

Gibson accused him of molesting her children. Baldwin hadn’t. Gibson started swinging.

Ko said a trial would have raised several questions. Would the small bat qualify as a deadly weapon? Would a jury sympathize with Gibson, allegedly a crime victim in the past?

“That could certainly sway a juror,” Ko said. “We took a lot of that into consideration. This is a plea to a felony, which still recognizes this person who was assaulted.” 

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