Central Oregon DailyProsecutors seeking longer sentence for Smith Rock attack suspect

Prosecutors seeking longer sentence for Smith Rock attack suspect

Prosecutors seeking longer sentence for Smith Rock attack suspect

Samson Garner

Deschutes County prosecutors are seeking a longer sentence for the man accused of plotting an attack at Smith Rock State Park.

Samson Garner, 39, is facing multiple counts of attempted murder, assault and unlawful use of a weapon. Based on the current charges, Garner faces 90 months in prison — a little more than eight years. Prosecutors are arguing for a minimum of 10 years.

Garner was arrested Oct. 19 in Deschutes County, the day before the start of the three-day Craggin’ Classic at Smith Rock. The arrest came days after the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said it received a warning from the Portland Police Bureau about Garner.

According to court documents, the people being targeted were listed as “Belayer 1” and “Belayer 2” — references to people who hold safety ropes for climbers. “Spectator 1” and “Spectator 2” were also listed as potential targets. Documents from Multnomah County show Garner allegedly sent an email to a woman he recently ended a relationship with. In that email, Garner allegedly states he was reminded about the Craggin’ Classic and that he thought of killing people rock climbing there.

According to a Dec. 11 court filing, the DA’s office says “there exist the following substantial and compelling aggravating factors justifying dispositional and/or durational departure sentences in this matter: 

1) Deliberate cruelty to victims.

2) Threat of violence toward a witness or victim.

3) The degree of harm or loss attributed to the current crime of conviction was significantly greater than typical for such an offense.

4) Intent to cause catastrophic physical and mental harm to the victims and witnesses.

5) Selection of a location and event to commit criminal offenses that maximizes harm to victims by preventing quick emergency medical and law enforcement response.

6) Intent to delay and defeat emergency law enforcement response by using armor penetrating ammunition.

7) The defendant committed the offense after substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person or commit an act of terrorism.

8) The defendant attempted to kill more than one person in a single criminal episode.”

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