WASHINGTON — An attorney for Wossen Assaye says his client should only serve the minimum 32-year sentence for the federal charges against him.
Assaye, of Virginia, has a history of depression and addiction. He was awaiting trial for robbing banks in March when he forced his way out of custody at Inova Fairfax Hospital and led police on a manhunt.
Assaye tried to commit suicide while awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors say he overpowered a private security guard at the hospital, hid in a car and burst out of the back seat to carjack the driver. He stole another car before the police chase.
His family members sent letters to the judge ahead of his sentencing on Friday, explaining the hardships he faced as a political refugee, resorting to drugs as an escape.
He’s “perhaps a damaged soul,” Assaye’s father wrote in appealing to Judge Leonie Brinkema.
He outlined the difficulties his son has faced, including a learning disability which made it tougher for him to learn English.
Court documents show the government will ask for a 35-year sentence.