CANYON CITY - Calling him "a dangerous individual," Judge William D. Cramer Jr. sentenced a John Day man to seven and a half years in prison for stabbing a 22-year-old acquaintance last fall on the bank of the John Day River.
"I don't think 90 months is enough, but it's what I can give you at this time," Cramer told Scott Lloyd Lee, 18, at his Dec. 15 sentencing in Grant County Circuit Court.
Lee's sentencing came after he pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault, a Class A felony. The judge dismissed separate counts of attempted murder, coercion, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, as proposed in a plea deal.
A second man charged in connection with the incident, Christopher Mark Hyde, 19, of the Bend area, also appeared before Cramer the same day.
Hyde pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree assault and was sentenced to six years in prison, with credit for time served and earned good behavior time. Additional counts of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, hindering prosecution and tampering with evidence were dismissed.
The judge ordered three years of postprison supervision for each man, as well as restitution to two hospitals - $61,198.95 to Blue Mountain Hospital and $77,981.98 St. Charles Medical Center.
Cramer recommended that Department of Corrections not house the two men in the same prison, based on reports that Lee had threatened Hyde while in custody.
The cases arose out of the late-night stabbing of Andrew James, 22, of Toledo on Oct. 15 near the river at the Riverside Trailer Park.
At the sentencing, District Attorney Ryan Joslin said Lee had developed an intense dislike for James, and he began talking about "taking him out."
Joslin said the two men lured James to the river, with the pair later offering different stories about wanting to look at a fishing hole or smoke some marijuana. Lee, using a pocketknife borrowed from Hyde, stabbed James in the abdomen; James fell into the river and Lee jumped in after him, the attorneys said.
Defense attorney Markku Sario said Lee, realizing things were out of hand, had jumped in to pull James to safety, but Joslin contended Lee was just continuing the attack.
Lee fled into the night - ending up at an acquaintance's apartment, where he was arrested. Hyde flagged down a passing vehicle, and the driver took the seriously injured James to the John Day hospital.
James underwent surgery and was recovering when he developed problems with blood clots, according to the court testimony. He was transferred to the Bend hospital for further treatment.
Lee declined to make a statement at the sentencing, but he began smiling when the judge recalled Lee's refusal in earlier juvenile cases to get serious about his problems.
"Why would you be smiling... when you have stabbed someone?" the judge admonished him. He called him "a dangerous individual" and said his intellectual limitations may make that even worse.
Hyde's attorney, John Lamborn, said he didn't think his client really believed Lee would carry through with his threat to stab James, but he went along with him that night. He may have felt "a certain trepidation because of how crazy Mr. Lee was," Lamborn said.
Lamborn said Hyde hadn't been in real trouble before, and may have given differing accounts about the night out of fear of the consequences from both Lee and the police.
He called Hyde's situation the result of bad decisions, fueled by alcohol and drug use.
Cramer told Hyde the message is that "who you choose to hang out with can make a major difference in your life."
The prison term "doesn't mean your life is ruined, but it's going to be a tough time for you," Cramer said. "You can still choose to do good things."
He urged Hyde to consider alcohol's effect on him, suggesting it makes him "lose whatever moral compass most people have."
The victim, James, was not in court for the sentencing, and Joslin said he is no longer staying in Grant County.