A 21-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for what authorities contended was an interrupted plan to shoot up the Wal-Mart in this town about 130 miles south of Kansas City.
Blaec Lammers, who has been held since November 2012, was found guilty in a non-jury trial Jan. 31 by Polk County Senior Circuit Judge William Roberts on two counts: first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Lammers received 15 years on each count, to be served concurrently. A third count of a terroristic threat had been dismissed by Roberts.
Lammers, who has suffered mental illness and repeatedly been in psychiatric facilities, purchased two military-style rifles from the same store that authorities say would have been the scene of the mayhem.
On Thursday, Polk County Prosecutor Kenneth Ashlock, who asked for a 15-year sentence, called Lammers “a danger to society.”
Donald Cooley, Lammers’ attorney, has argued that no crime had been committed and says the conviction will be appealed.
“I’m thoroughly convinced he did not commit enough acts that would rise to the level of having committed armed criminal action or assault,” Cooley said Thursday.
Lammers’ parents believe police overreacted when Blaec’s mother, Tricia Lammers, notified them that he had apparently purchased a gun. The arrest of their son came about four months after the deadly shooting at a theater in Aurora, Colo., that killed 12 and injured 62; a month later, 27 were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Both of those tragedies were carried out with AR-15 style assault weapons similar to the one purchased by Lammers and briefly kept on a farm without his parents’ knowledge.
Lammers’ family have complained that the state mental health system falls short in helping cases like Blaec’s.
“I’m disappointed,” Tricia Lammers said after the sentencing. “Yes, he’s got a personality disorder. I don’t think that means we send him to prison because he’s a little bit different; I think that means we find him help.”