A judge sentenced a Scott Lake man to seven years and nine months in prison Friday for shooting another man twice in his driveway in 2012.
Darren Shore, 43, had earlier pleaded guilty to a count of first-degree assault for shooting Ryan Lemcke in the driveway of his Champion Lane SW home on Nov. 26, 2012, after a disagreement over Vicodin.
The case made headlines across the country for the odd scene sheriff's detectives discovered while investigating the shooting. Shore's Scott Lake residence was home to two alligators guarding his indoor marijuana grow, and he had a stripper pole in his living room.
But during Friday's hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Wheeler asked the judge not to lose sight of the fact that Shore fired eight shots at Lemcke with a .380 caliber pistol as Lemcke drove up to the house.
One bullet struck Lemcke's bicep and another grazed his shoulder. Another was lodged in the headrest of Lemcke's vehicle - missing Lemcke by inches, Wheeler said.
"We are incredibly fortunate that this was not a murder and is an assault in the first-degree," Wheeler said. "What this case is about is somebody got angry at somebody and took eight shots at them."
Wheeler asked for a seven year and nine month prison sentence - the bottom end of the standard sentencing range.
Shore's attorney, Brett Purtzer of Tacoma, requested an exceptional sentence downward of five years, which would have been outside the standard sentencing range for Shore's crime.
In arguing for an exceptional sentence downward, Purtzer said the shooting victim Lemcke was an active participant in the events that led to the shooting. Purtzer even said "to an extent, the victim was an instigator," because if he hadn't gone to Shore's home the day of the shooting, it would not have occurred.
"Darren Shore didn't go out looking to hurt Ryan Lemcke," Purtzer said.
Court papers state that Shore was angry at Lemcke on the day of the shooting because Lemcke had requested Vicodin from him as payment for helping move a hot tub.
Purtzer also said Shore's "mental incapacity" played a role in Shore's "overreaction" on the day of the shooting. Shore, who walks with a cane from an injury after an industrial accident 14 years ago, suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome, Purtzer said. He also suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, Purtzer added.
An doctor hired by the defense found that Shore's "psychiatric condition at the time of the crime included a combination of intoxication, severely heightened emotional state, panic and hypervigilance about possible threat (to the level of paranoia)."
The doctor's report also states that Shore felt Lemcke's requests for Vicodin had "compromised" his cell phone.
Finally, Purtzer said the Shore's behavior on the day of the shooting is totally out of character. Shore's mother told the court her son has never been one to act out aggressively. Shore's mom told Schaller she loves her son and she hopes Lemcke and his family can forgive him. As Shore's mother spoke, Shore wept silently at his seat in the courtroom.
A friend and supporter of the Shore family, Chrissy Wiseman, said Shore was suffering from extreme mental distress on the day of the shooting because he was off of his regular medication. Wiseman said Shore and Lemcke had been friends since childhood, and that Lemcke should have known Shore's mental state was so extreme that he should not have gone to his home that day.
Schaller said she understands that Shore's behavior that day was out of character, and that his mental state may have contributed to the crime. However, Schaller said that neither of those factors justify an exceptional sentence downward for the crime of first-degree assault. She imposed the seven year, nine month prison sentence.
Schaller also said she could not find that Lemcke was an instigator or an active participant in the events that led to the shooting.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; email@example.com