A 60-year-old Thurston County man who pulled a gun on his neighbors last summer pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree assault.
Benjamin Beckham was sentenced last week to three days in the Thurston County Jail, which he already served after his August 2016 arrest.
Beckham was initially charged with second-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon. However, Deputy Prosecutor Mark Thompson said that while Beckham’s actions were the result of a “serious lapse in judgment,” he didn’t believe Beckham deserved to be convicted of a strike offense. He said that Beckham had no prior criminal history.
Beckham told the court that alcohol played a part in his choices that night.
“I made a poor decision and I’m sorry,” he said.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Mary Sue Wilson said the use of firearms in the presence of people is always concerning, especially when alcohol is involved.
Court documents give the following account of the incident:
Thurston County deputies responded to a disturbance between neighbors about 8 p.m. on Aug. 28, on the 3900 block of Grove Road Northwest, near the Olympia Country & Golf Club.
Seven friends were sitting on the back patio listening to music from one of their cellphones. Witnesses said next-door neighbor Beckham came over unannounced with a pistol in his hand, yelled at the group to quiet down, and pointed the pistol at two of the people.
One of the people showed a deputy a cellphone photo of Beckham holding a pistol while angrily pointing a finger.
Deputies went next door and contacted Beckham, who smelled intoxicated, according to the report. Beckham told deputies he had confronted the neighbors, but had only brought the pistol for protection.
At the scene, Beckham voluntarily handed over his black and silver Sig Sauer Mosquito, a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
The weapon was in a case and contained two loaded magazines.