Highway shooter gets sentenced to 120 years

May 8, 2013

A man convicted of attempted murder for opening fire on vehicles traveling along U.S. 20 in northeastern Indiana was sentenced to 120 years in prison on April 29.

Donald William Myers III, 35, was convicted April 19 on four counts of attempted murder for shooting at motorists and at an Indiana State trooper’s patrol car, according to a Herald Republican report. Myers, who has maintained his innocence since his arrest, told Steuben Circuit Court Judge Allen Wheat he didn’t shoot at anyone and that he’d “kind of like to go home.”

Myers has been in mental hospitals most of the time since his arrest in 2009 and his case had been on hold due to his mental state. A forensic psychology board last year found him competent to stand trial. During his trial, Myers told jurors he was a four-star general in the U.S. Marines and a personal friend of former President George W. Bush.

Myers’ mother, Judy Woneker, told the judge that she had monitored her son’s condition closely for much of his life and that he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 10 years before the shootings, according to the Herald Republican. She asked that the judge to allow her son to be returned home, where she would watch him “24/7.”

Trooper L. Andrew Smith, whose cruiser was struck during the shootings, urged Wheat to impose the maximum sentence, saying that if Myers were free it would be a matter of “when, not if” he committed another crime.

Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeremy Musser said that allowing Myers to go free would be “a roll of the dice as to everybody’s physical welfare.” Musser and the local probation officials both recommended a sentenced of 30 years on each count with consecutive sentencing on at least three of the charges.

Wheat chose to sentence Myers for each crime consecutively, calling the incident an “egregious crime of violence” giving him 30 years for each of four attempted murder convictions.

In his sentencing recommendation, Wheat suggested that Myers be returned to a mental health facility, where he will be monitored and receive the appropriate medication. Myers’ court-appointed attorney Linda Wagoner said he wants to be in the Indiana Department of Corrections instead of the state’s mental health division. The DOC will screen Myers and make the final determination.

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