Mo. Shooting Plot Suspect Sentenced To 15 Years
Date 2014/3/21 4:34:24 | Topic: News
|(news-leader.com) - A Bolivar man with mental illness who spoke of shooting up a movie theater showing “Twilight” and was later accused of plotting to do the same at a Walmart store in Bolivar was sentenced to 15 years in prison.|
Blaec Lammers never carried out any of the plans.
His mother Tricia Lammers had turned him in to authorities hoping he would get mental health treatment. Polk County Judge William J. Roberts didn’t order that kind of help although he noted that Blaec Lammers had been hospitalized seven times for psychiatric problems and diagnosed with a personality disorder.
“Does that justify that we send him to prison because he is a little bit different?” Tricia Lammers angrily asked reporters after the sentencing. “I don’t think it means we send him away because he’s different. I think it means we find him help.”
Blaec Lammers, 21, of Bolivar, was convicted in Polk County Court in January of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on each charge, with the sentences to be served concurrently. He could have received a sentence on one charge of five to 15 years and on the other, three years to life.
Before he handed down the sentence, Roberts said that Blaec Lammers bought a ticket to “Twilight” about a month before his arrest and bought two assault rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition.
“This isn’t about Colorado,” Roberts said, referring to a July 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Co., movie theater four months before Blaec Lammers was arrested. “This isn’t about Newtown, Conn., or all those other places horrible things have occurred.”
The defendant, wearing an orange inmate outfit, was led away after the sentencing.
His attorney, Don Cooley, said he plans to appeal the sentence.
Kenneth Ashlock, the Polk County prosecuting attorney, said Blaec Lammers is a danger to society and asked for a sentence of 15 years.
“There’s no reason that people in Bolivar or people anywhere should be afraid,” Ashlock said.
Ashlock noted that the defendant had previously assaulted a coworker and had faced a charge of domestic assault against his mother that had been dismissed. He said one of the employees at Walmart is now afraid to go to movies. Another thinks about what could have happened if Blaec Lammers had carried out his plans.
“I feel he does need to be locked away,” Ashlock said.
But Cooley argued that his client had only thought about carrying out the attacks and hadn’t actually injured anyone. He said the mental health system has failed Blaec Lammers.
“What happened in this case is nothing more than thoughts,” Cooley said.
Blaec Lammers, of Bolivar, was arrested in November 2012 after his mother told authorities he bought an AR-15 and another semiautomatic weapon from a local Walmart.
In a recorded interview with investigators, Blaec Lammers said he intended to shoot up the store — making his way to the ammunition department by the time he ran out of bullets.
He had originally been accused of three felonies: first-degree assault, making a terrorist threat and armed criminal action. The terrorist threat charge later was dropped.
Ashlock has said that, although Blaec Lammers did not go through with his plot, the charge of first-degree assault was upheld because the statutory definition includes the "attempt to cause serious physical injury."
"He had the weapons, he purchased them, practiced them and learned them," Ashlock said.
Blaec Lammers' original target, Ashlock said, was to shoot up a movie theater showing "Twilight," but he changed the location to Walmart because it was a "better place."
Tricia Lammers and her husband Bill have said they struggled for years to find their son help for mental health problems.
"What we originally wanted was for Blaec to get some help. This is sending the message to everyone that if you go to the police thinking they are going to help your son, they're going to send him to prison," Bill Lammers has said.