State Court of Appeals Upholds Conviction of Winlock Man Involved in 2020 Ethel Home Invasion 


The last of four co-defendants to be convicted for his involvement in a February 2020 home-invasion robbery in Ethel will have to serve the remainder of his 216-month jail sentence but will not have to pay $2,700 in court-ordered fees and restitution to the victim, the state Court of Appeals ruled late last month. 

A jury found Charles G. Holmes, 57, of Winlock, guilty of one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree robbery stemming from the incident on June 11, 2021, according to previous Chronicle reporting. Holmes was sentenced alongside two of his co-defendants in Lewis County Superior Court on June 16.

That same day, Holmes filed an appeal with Division II of the Washington state Court of Appeals arguing for the upheaval of the June 16 jury verdict. 

In addition to arguing that the state prosecutor committed misconduct by making statements regarding a witness’ credibility and arguing his defense counsel was “ineffective” for failing to object to the prosecutor’s closing argument in trial, Holmes and his attorney argued that Lewis County Superior Court made several mistakes in handling Holmes’ case, including not giving the jury instruction that a deadly weapon enhancement conviction must be unanimous, not presenting sufficient evidence to convict him of first-degree robbery, and wrongfully imposing discretionary legal financial obligations (LFOs) and community custody supervision fees. 

LFOs are fines, fees, costs and restitution imposed by the court on top of a criminal sentence. Some of those LFOs are mandatory under state law while others are discretionary, meaning they can be waived if paying them causes financial hardship for the defendant and their family. 

In Holmes’ case, Lewis County Superior Court ordered him to pay $2,500 in attorney fees, a $200 criminal filing fee and $500 in restitution to the victim, in addition to future community supervision fees. 

In its decision filed Dec. 28, 2022, the Court of Appeals determined, “The trial court erred in imposing mandatory and discretionary LFOs, but did not err in imposing community custody supervision fees. The remainder of Holmes’ arguments fail. Accordingly, we affirm the convictions but remand to the trial court to strike the LFOs consistent with the state’s concession.” 

Holmes and his three co-defendants, Angela M. Rothschiller, 34, of Snohomish, Michelle L. Rothschiller, 39, of Marysville, and Sambath Loeung, 43, of Kent, had been accused of breaking into and attempting to rob an Ethel residence on Feb. 16, 2020. The victims reported that a man in a ski mask, later identified as Holmes, had knocked on their door with what appeared to be an assault rifle — but was later learned to be a BB gun — and forced his way into their home, accompanied by another man in a mask who was later identified as Loeung.

The victims, one man and one woman, reported that Holmes was “yelling at them asking where the drugs were,” had them both zip-tied, threatened to cut off the male’s toes and threatened to rape the female victim, presumably in front of the male.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to an open 911 call from the residence at approximately 1:20 a.m. and found the Rothschiller sisters listening to a police scanner in a running vehicle outside the house, relaying information to the men in the house.

“This was a well-planned out crime. Perhaps not well executed, or perhaps not as well-planned as it could have been," sentencing Judge J. Andrew Toynbee said at Holmes’ sentencing hearing in June 2021. 

Court records indicate Holmes was the only one of the four co-defendants to appeal his conviction. Holmes’ case was also the only one of the four that went to trial, with the remaining three co-defendants accepting plea deals for lesser charges. 

Leoung pleaded guilty to burglary and theft charges in April 2021 and was sentenced June 2, 2021 to serve 102 months in custody, with credit for 12 months already served, followed by 12 months in community custody.

Angela Rothschiller received a collective 15-month jail sentence with credit for time served in June 2021, and was released at the time of sentencing to serve 18 months in community custody. Michelle Rothschiller received a collective 14-month jail sentence with credit for time served and was released in 2021.