In the weeks leading up to his trial, Raymond H. Hall vehemently denied trying to run over a Clark County sheriff’s deputy with the officer’s stolen patrol car.
In letters to The Columbian, Hall, instead, said he was a victim of police brutality. He said he had made a desperate attempt early Dec. 26 to flee from Deputy Rob Ternus, and was driving away and not toward Ternus when the officer fired one shot at him.
Prior to his sentencing, however, Hall laid the blame on himself.
Turning to the deputy seated in the first row of courtroom seats, Hall said: “I just want to apologize for that night. The drugs were a factor.”
In response, Ternus accepted his apology. “If you learn from this and go forward a better person, that’s what I hope,” Ternus said.
Hall was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in prison, a combined resolution to the incident with Ternus and an unrelated identity theft case last fall.
He was convicted by a jury April 22 of second-degree assault, third-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. His sentencing was postponed several times, as prosecutors were negotiating a plea deal to resolve the earlier ID theft case.
His apology to the patrol deputy occurred at a pre-sentencing hearing in August.
Hall, through his attorney Jeff Sowder, agreed to a 23-year sentence, contingent on a promise not to appeal his assault conviction. The sentence also avoids further prosecution in Multnomah County, Ore., where he’s facing several identity theft charges, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Alan Harvey.
The assault charges concerned an incident Dec. 26, when Hall’s pickup was stopped by Deputy Ternus in Hazel Dell for having defective brake lights.
After running from the truck, Hall climbed inside Ternus’ patrol car. As Ternus stood in front of the car, commanding Hall to get out, the defendant sped toward him.
Ternus jumped out of the way and fired his gun, grazing Hall’s torso with a round.
Hall’s possession of a firearm charge resulted from the deputy having a rifle in his patrol car when Hall stole the car.
Jurors convicted Hall of second-degree assault because they found he tried to harm Ternus with a deadly weapon (the car).
Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516; www.twitter.com/col_courts; www.facebook.com/reportermcvicker; firstname.lastname@example.org.