Bow shooter receives reduced sentence
The 21-year-old Newberg resident pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a police officer, a Class A misdemeanor, in connection with an incident last March in which he shot off one of his mother’s fingers with a compound bow. One count of unlawful use of a weapon, a Class C felony, and two counts of menacing, a Class A misdemeanor, were dismissed under terms of a plea agreement.
Easterday sentenced the defendant, Randall Bracken, to 30 days in jail, 36 months on post-release probation and participation in a program designed for him by Court Coordinated Services. With credit for time served, he has already completed the jail term.
Easterday said it was the court’s intent to help Bracken lead a more productive life by getting him into appropriate treatment, including drug and alcohol treatment.
“This looks like a good plan,” she said. “You’ve got to treat your condition like the illness it is.”
CCS is a diversion program designed for people coping with mental illness or developmental disabilities. To qualify, a defendant must be diagnosed with a serious and persistent mental illness or developmental disability by a qualified evaluator.
Bracken’s court-appointed defense attorney, Mary Biel of McMinnville, negotiated the terms with Deputy District Attorney Alicia Eagan.
Newberg-Dundee police originally charged Bracken with second-degree assault, a Class C felony carrying a long prison term under Measure 11. However, the grand jury did not include that charge in the indictment it issued.
Police gave this account of the incident, which occurred on the Sunday of March 23:
About 5:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to a two-story duplex at 315 N. Harrison St. in response to a call from a neighbor.
They discovered a woman whose finger had been severed and could not be saved. She said she had been shot by her son, who had left the scene.
She was transported by Newberg Fire Department ambulance to a Portland trauma hospital. Meanwhile, police began a search for Bracken with the assistance of sheriff’s deputies Justin Caughlin and Rich Geist, who happened to be in the area.
The deputies soon spotted him, bow in hand, near the intersection of Highway 240 and North Chehalem Drive.
He had it in what they described as a “low-ready position.” They said he was pointing it in their direction, but toward the ground.
When canine officer Steve Schoening arrived with his dog, Arco, Bracken agreed to put down the bow and was taken into custody.
He was experiencing mental issues at the time, according to testimony given at his plea and sentencing hearing.
“He said he shot it to protect his mother from a stranger,” Eagan said. “The family reported he had been changing mentally.”
Biel said, “The family had sought help prior to the incident. This came out of the blue.
“He was hearing voices. He felt people were out to get him.”