A Seattle man who was nicknamed the "Santa Claus burglar" after he became stuck in a chimney for nearly six hours during a botched burglary was sentenced Thursday morning to 17 months in prison.
The jury didn’t buy it, and on Thursday even the judge found the story spun by the so-called “Santa Claus burglar” — that he had become stuck in a chimney while trying to retrieve his backpack — “unbelievable.”
But Shon Shanell, 23, didn’t help his cause when he cursed at King County Superior Court Judge Helen Halpert as she prepared to sentence him for residential burglary. Then, for reasons that eluded even his own attorney, Shanell asked the judge to sentence him to nearly two years of prison.
Defense attorney Suzanne Pickering sought a sentence of 15 months behind bars. She later said she believes her client misspoke when he asked for a longer term.
Halpert ultimately opted for a sentence between the two — 17 months, the same term recommended by Deputy Prosecutor Maurice Classen. Halbert also criticized Shanell for his explanation of how he wound up stuck in the chimney of a Seward Park home for six hours Feb. 19.
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Seattle firefighters pulled a naked Shanell from the rough-edged chimney after a neighbor reported hearing someone yelling for help. It’s unclear why Shanell was naked, but it took medics 45 minutes to chisel away bricks from the chimney to free him.
Police say Shanell put a chair on a central air-conditioning unit to get onto the roof.
His chimney predicament earned him the nickname “Santa Claus burglar.”
During his statements to Seattle police, Shanell claimed that a friend had tossed his backpack into the covered chimney and that he was merely trying to retrieve it.
But police found the bag leaning against the garage door of the home.
Jurors deliberated for about an hour before finding Shanell guilty July 20.
Shanell’s criminal history includes convictions for possession of a stolen vehicle and drug violations, according to charging documents. The documents say he had been released from jail on an unrelated possession of a stolen-vehicle charge Dec. 25.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or email@example.com