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Prineville man was sentenced on Dec. 21 for New Year's Day shooting that paralyzed Bend man

PHOTO COURTESY OF CROOK COUNTY JAIL - Omar AraimPrineville man Omar Araim was sentenced to 80 months in prison last Friday for shooting and paralyzing a Bend man early New Year's Day.

According to Crook County District Attorney Wade Whiting, Araim had initially been indicted on attempted murder and first-degree assault charges as well as some lesser charges after shooting Nicholas Ricks at Crossroads BBQ Pit and Pub during the early hours of Jan. 1, 2018.

The two parties participated in a pre-trial conference with Circuit Court Judge Gary Williams on Nov. 26, Whiting said, during which they discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the case and negotiated what they felt was an appropriate solution. The parties agreed to Araim receiving an 80-month prison sentence for first-degree assault, a crime Whiting said carries the same penalty as attempted murder.

"Because the defendant had a real minimal criminal history, if we would have gone to trial and prevailed, he would have been looking at 90 months in the Department of Corrections," Whiting explained. "Obviously, the injuries to the victim were significant and not something I take lightly, but in this instance, the plea offer was worked on and supported by the victim in this case."

Araim was arrested and jailed on Jan. 1 after shooting Ricks multiple times in the chest. Ricks was taken to the hospital in critical condition and ended up being paralyzed from the waist down.

Security was set at $710,000, a higher than usual amount for the charges Araim faced, because of his dual citizenship in the United States and United Kingdom. Despite the higher bail, Araim was able to post 10 percent cash, $71,000, to get out of custody and fled Crook County, violating his release agreement. Authorities were not able to locate Araim until he turned himself four days later. He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and all other charges associated with the shooting.

During the sentencing hearing, held on Dec. 21 and presided over by Circuit Court Judge Daniel Ahern, Ricks said he forgives Araim for what he has done to him.

"He spoke about how he can't hold any ill will or anger in his heart and how it won't do him any good going forward," Whiting said. "He said he hoped while the defendant was in prison for the next several years that he will look to rehabilitate himself and really come to grips with why he acted out the way he did that night. It was a very heartfelt and articulate statement he made to the court prior to sentencing."

Whiting said Judge Ahern then asked Araim if he would like to speak.

"He actually stood up, turned around to the gallery, and addressed the victim," Whiting recalls. "He said he apologized from the bottom of his heart and said he has given a lot of thought to why he acted out the way he did that day. He didn't have a real strong explanation, but he wanted to convey that he was sorry for what happened."

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