Wednesday , August 13, 2014 - 5:35 PM
OGDEN — “Why” was a word heard repeatedly Wednesday in a courtroom filed with people watching with teary eyes.
“This is such a serious offense; it’s at the top of the scale — you shot a man ... I’m not sure why,” said Judge Ernie Jones at the sentencing hearing of Lance Perrine, who recently pleaded guilty to shooting his roommate in the stomach.
The courtroom silenced. The audience stared. The victim sobbed.
“That day I had to fight for my life ... the hope, fear, despair, and heartbreak overcome by my family was more hurtful than the bullet itself,” wrote the victim in a letter read by the victim advocate. “You have influenced my life forever.”
The 48-year-old defendant, who pleaded guilty to attempted murder on his first day of trail, was sentenced to three years to life in the Utah State Prison.
“It’s an appropriate sentence for such a serious crime,” said the judge.
Perrine walked into the courtroom Wednesday, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and prepared to speak to the man he shot in the stomach two years ago.
“I’m truly sorry for this,” he said, facing the victim, who was sitting with his wife and parents in the audience. “I didn’t intend for this to happen. I hope you are doing well. God bless you. Take care of yourself.”
However, the victim sees no true remorse.
“Even now, I still don’t see any remorse for your wrongdoings on your face, therefore it must be just in your sober thought.” The victim was referencing Perrine’s drunken state when the incident occurred.
Jones granted the motion recommended by the defendant’s counsel, upon resolution, of three years to life in prison exchange for the guilty plea. Perrine was charged with attempted murder, a first-degree felony, which holds a maximum sentence of five years to life in prison.
In May 2012, Perrine and his roommate got into an agreement about his excessive drinking. Perrine went to his bedroom, where he grabbed his loaded .40-caliber handgun. Perrine returned, pointing the gun at his roommate. The gunshot critically injured the man, who still suffers from his injuries, according to prosecutors.
“Whenever I would come up, Lance would be drinking,” said the victim’s father, a Wyoming resident, to the judge. “(Lance) would interfere with (our TV shows). ... A couple weeks ago my brother passed away and it was easier for me to get over my brother than it is for this.”
Perrine turned himself in to police and said he had pointed the gun at the victim, but only meant to scare him and not actually shoot.
The victim disagreed.
”I’ve always said that you never took responsibility for your actions. You could not even take responsibility for your child, since that was your comment to me: ’I need to do something to get put in jail so I don’t have to pay child support.’”
“You are the most irresponsible person I have met. It took you until June 23 of this year to finally take responsibility for your wrongdoing,” wrote the victim. “My one and only question can be summed up into one word, ’Why?’”
“In some ways (the victim) has recovered; in other ways it doesn’t sound like he’ll ever recover,” said Jones, who acknowledged Perrine’s clean record prior to this case and commended the man for turning himself in.
Contact reporter Morgan Briesmaster at 801-625-4268 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SE_mbriesmaster. Like her Facebook page at http://facebook.com/SEMorganBriesmaster.
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