Leniency denied in Laclede stabbing case

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SANDPOINT — Leniency has been denied for a Washington state man who pleaded guilty to unleashing a knife attack that nearly claimed a man’s life.

Shawn Montgomery Harp was charged with attempted murder in connection with the unprovoked attack April 16 in Laclede. Harp allegedly attacked the man because he was in the throes of a methamphetamine-induced psychosis.

Harp, a 34-year-old Spokane Valley resident, wordlessly stabbed the victim in the chest and back. The blade nearly struck the man’s heart and spinal cord, court documents indicate.

Harp entered into a plea agreement which reduced the charge to aggravated battery in exchange for a plea. Plea negotiations also jettisoned sentencing enhancements for using a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime and prior felony convictions.

First District Judge Barbara Buchanan ordered Harp to serve a 15-year prison term, the first 10 years of which are fixed.

Counsel for Harp filed a post-conviction plea for leniency on grounds that Harp’s underlying medical conditions and the prospect of gainful employment were not factored in when he was sentenced.

Friends and family also submitted a clutch of letters attesting to Harp’s attentiveness as a father, work ethic and goodness as person.

Bonner County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank opposed a sentence reduction due to the seriousness of the offense and the fact that the victim came perilously close to death.

Under Idaho’s criminal court rules, district judges have the discretion to lessen a sentence if it was unduly harsh for any reason.

Buchanan, however, declined to exercise that discretion, according to an Oct. 10 decision denying Harp’s plea for leniency.

Harp is serving his sentence at the Idaho State Correctional Institution in Kuna, according to the Idaho Department of Corrections’ website. He becomes eligible for parole in 2024.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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