As the State Turns

By Johnny Beaver

Happy Holidays, or How to Get Five Years in Prison

stateturnssymbolNothing quite says “holiday season” like shooting a cat with a bow and arrow—but more on that later. For now, let’s consider something: prison sentences. Are they all created equal? Thanks to some semi-local criminals, we have the chance to take a look at a few crimes that recently pulled down sweet five-year deals with the prison establishment.

Jody Allard and his twin Jacky (I’m not kidding) were busted last May in Colorado after running from a police raid that uncovered computers and other electronics with child pornography on them. Eugene native Jody taught for 16 years at a Eugene middle school and was president of something called the Sheldon Babe Ruth League, while his brother ran the Willamette Valley Sports Academy. Thanks to a plea deal, some charges against Jody were dropped and he picked up his fiver in the joint. I’m sure they’ll love him there.

Albany developer Joe LaCoste was also given a half-dime (I’m trying my hand at slang, okay?) when a federal judge in Eugene decided to flim-flam him with an over-the-recommended-years sentencing. LaCoste stole $5 million from over 50 investors in relation to real estate shenanigans. A former Oregon State football player, LaCoste was additionally banned from Linn, Benton, Lane, and Marion counties.

Last, but certainly not least, a fugitive from Idaho by the name of Wayne Pearson was involved in a pursuit in southern Oregon last March, during which time he was shot and wounded by officers (a graze to the noggin’… a woman traveling with him was hit several times). Pleading no contest to a handful of awesome charges, including attempted assault, attempting to give officers the slip, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. What happened was that he had stolen this truck, and somehow hit a police car with it. Tip for the kids at home: don’t do that. Pearson was slapped with five-and-a-half years, including charges stemming from the warrants for burglary and grand theft he was sought for in the first place.

Ho Ho Ho! More Terrible News

An 81-year-old man was found dead last Wednesday in relation to a fire at a duplex in Portland. The man, from Jefferson, was the victim of what seemed to be a dubious cause of the fire, though authorities have yet to release details. And by not releasing details, I mean they’ve arrested the man’s son, John Duran, as a result of accusations of reckless endangerment. Thankfully no one reading this can put two and two together.

A hop, a skip, and several long jumps away in Grants Pass, a 15-year-old boy saw his day in court as he faced the juvenile equivalent of manslaughter. In 2012 the boy shot and killed both his foster father and another man at an Oregon cabin, before shooting himself in the leg. Having a long history of bouncing from foster home to juvenile care facilities and back again, the boy claimed that he had heard there were wolves in the area and, out of fear, fired a .44 Magnum revolver at a pair of eyes in the darkness. Heading back inside the cabin, he claimed people were yelling at him and, in my words, he freaked out and started shooting all over the place, ran out the door, shot himself in the leg, and wound up taped to a chair until the police arrived.

Initially prosecutors tried to try (get it?) him as an adult for aggravated murder, but the judge tossed that notion out citing his problems and the fact that he had the maturity level of a nine year old. State law bars those younger than 12 from being tried as adults. In the end, the judge sentenced him to state custody until he turns 25, at which point he will become eligible for release.

Hark the Herald: Uber Complies

On Thursday Uber announced that it will be going ahead with a suspension of services in Portland while the city creates new taxi regulations. The last chance for an Uber ride is Dec. 21, and the hiatus will last for three months. This about-face is a sign of Uber’s willingness to find an amicable solution with the City of Portland. Many Portlanders, whether they have an interest in Uber or not, look forward to the possibility of new regulations that will make catching a cab, in the immortal words of a friend of mine, “less of a huge boner to deal with.”

On Dasher, on Dancer… on Earthquake

Northern Polk County shook to the beat of a 3.2 on the Richter scale the morning of Dec. 19, just 10 miles west of Dallas. No damage was reported, and of course, there’s no reason for Oregonians to worry. I mean, it’s not like Jan. 26, 1700 when we took a 9.0 to the face, or that there have been an estimated 40 major quakes along the Oregon coast over the last 10,000 years, or that we’re about 75 years overdue for another one.

Santa Ain’t Givin’ This Guy Sh*t

And here’s the story I promised. Some total idiot in southern Oregon named Cody Daigneault shot his neighbor’s cat with a bow and arrow because it harassed his own cats and knocked over his garbage cans. I believe the quote was that it was a “nuisance.” Apparently his aim was really good because he shot it right through the stomach; however the cat has survived and will make a full recovery, as they say. As for this jackass, apparently he’s being held without bail in relation to a probation violation on an assault case. What his animal abuse charge will look like, only time will tell. But I sort of hope his neighbor’s cat evolves opposable thumbs and engages in some street justice.

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