Rainier man sentenced in death of 30-year-old Christopher Heller
A Rainier man was sentenced to 75 months in prison Wednesday for the 2015 death of 30-year-old Christopher Heller.
Randolph Lee Pritchard, 51, was sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 31, following a guilty plea in December to second-degree manslaughter.
Pritchard was arrested in 2016 in connection with Heller's death on July 28, 2015. He was initially charged with murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence. That charge was eventually lowered to manslaughter II, which has a maximum sentence of 10 years.
In a plea deal with the Columbia County District Attorney's Office, Pritchard admitted he "recklessly caused the death of Christopher Heller" in 2015. Heller, of St. Helens, died a week after he suffered a blow to the head on July 19, leaving his skull fractured, while he was reportedly working from a shop on Whitney Road in Rainier. His mother transported him to a hospital in Vancouver, Wash., and called police to report Heller had been assaulted, according to initial police reports.
Heller eventually succumbed to his injuries, leaving behind four children, according to family members.
Prior to Pritchard's sentencing hearing, jail supervisors recommended he be restrained during his court appearance, citing "an immediate and serious risk of dangerous or disruptive behavior in the courtroom."
Pritchard will get credit for the two years he has already served in Columbia County Jail, and will face three years of probation after his sentence.
Prior to his conviction, Pritchard was convicted of weapons crimes, numerous traffic and vehicle violations, as well as fleeing charges. Records show that in 2006, and again in 2011, he was convicted of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
In the 2006 conviction, he was also found guilty of DUII and possession of a controlled substance.