Sunriver man sentenced to 20 years for attempted murder
A 20-year-old Sunriver man, Christopher James Thomas Sweeney, was sentenced March 1, to 20 years in prison for attempting to shoot at two officers in November 2017, in Madras.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Annette Hillman handed down the sentence for two counts each of attempted aggravated murder and unlawful use of a weapon, and one each of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and reckless driving.
After a four-day trial, on Jan. 17, a 12-person jury deliberated for about an hour and returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty on all six charges.
The charges were a result of a police pursuit that began south of Bend, and ended on U.S. Highway 97, near L Street in Madras, around 11 p.m., on Nov. 2, 2017.
Earlier that day, Sweeney had walked away from the J Bar J Boys Ranch, in Bend, and with a friend, stolen property valued at about $30,000, in addition to two vehicles, from Sweeney's grandparents in Sunriver. Sweeney drove his grandparents' 2004 Chevrolet Venture, while the friend drove their 2007 Toyota Highlander.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Office deputies spotted the vehicles, which had been reported stolen, and attempted to stop the vehicles. The driver of the Toyota stopped in Bend, and was taken into custody, but Sweeney continued on to Madras.
DCSO deputies and Oregon State Police followed the vehicle to Jefferson County, where Deschutes County stopped, and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office joined the pursuit. Spike strips were deployed numerous times, but Sweeney failed to stop, until he lost control in Madras, and crashed near Southwest L Street.
Armed with a handgun, Sweeney got out of the vehicle in a crouch and drew his gun as an OSP officer, Sgt. John Russo, approached. A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy, Joe Aldred, demanded that Sweeney show his hands; Sweeney turned, and pointed his gun at Aldred, who fired at Sweeney.
Both officers fired their weapons at Sweeney, who was shot three times, and then provided medical assistance as they waited for an ambulance.
Sweeney was transported to St. Charles Madras for treatment, and then released to the custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office two weeks later, on Nov. 16, 2017. He has been at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility since then.
Sweeney's driver's license was revoked for one year, and he was sentenced to three years of post-prison supervision.
Brentley Steele Foster, chief deputy district attorney for Jefferson County, prosecuted the case. Matthew Murphy represented Sweeney.
"The Major Incident Team, specifically Bend Police Department, Redmond Police Department, and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, provided enormous support and assistance throughout the investigation and prosecution of this case," said Foster. "The District Attorney's Office is extremely grateful for the professionalism and contributions of these agencies and the entire Major Incident Team in keeping the people of Jefferson County safe."
(A complete report of the sentencing will appear in the March 6 issue of the Madras Pioneer.)