Originally scheduled to be sentenced in August of this year, Timothy Paul Schaeffer, age 55, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon in 4th Judicial District Court. A jury found Schaeffer guilty this past June of Aggravated Assault for using a taser on Brian “Beaver” Legerski and brandishing a flare gun at Willy's Lounge during an after-hours altercation at the bar on October 26, 2009.
Not unlike most of Schaeffer's prior hearings and Court dates, Wednesday's proceedings had its share of unusual moments. Judge John Fenn first discussed the mental competency evaluation done earlier this fall at the Wyoming State Hospital. Schaeffer's new attorney, public defender Robert Jackson of Gillette, told the Court that based upon the evaluation, he saw no reason that Schaeffer could not proceed with sentencing.
Next, the judge referred to the hundreds of letters that Schaeffer has written to the Court in the past year, most recently a letter questioning the accuracy of the Pre-Sentence Investigation, or PSI, report compiled after Schaeffer's conviction. State Prosecutor Dianna Bennett then went before Judge Fenn to back up what the PSI indicated.
She spoke for several minutes to inform the Court of Schaeffer's aggressive, defiant and violent past. She indicated that he had a serious alcohol abuse problem, which factored into the majority of his violent behavior. He had also been involved in several altercations in the last year since being in jail.
Ms. Bennett said that Schaeffer had been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Evidence of this in Schaeffer is seen, she said, in his blaming others for his misdeeds; his display of a “righteous indignation” when not getting his way; and his defiance against authority figures. She went on to say that despite this disorder, Shaeffer “is cunning – he thinks about things ... he is very dangerous to the community, and the only option is incarceration to keep the community safe.”
Mr. Jackson argued that incidents in Schaeffer's past were mostly allegations and should not be a factor in his sentencing. He also downplayed the type of weapon Schaeffer used at Willy's Bar.
And then, Mr. Schaeffer was given an opportunity to speak.
Speak he did, and for the next forty-five minutes, in a kind of verbal display of the numerous letters he's written over the past year, he asserted his innocence; he alleged that Robert Jones, his attorney during the trial, suppressed evidence; he alleged that he'd been “railroaded”; he alleged he'd been denied medication and hospital examinations for his head injury; he said the incidents in the jail were exaggerated; and he said that everything Bennett had said was an "absolute falsehood," also denying that he had a problem with alcohol.
Schaeffer also told Judge Fenn that he was “a good person... [he] volunteered for the Salvation Army and People's Assistance Food Bank. [He] likes to help the elderly and the needy."
The court reporter had been following his speech closely, and about 25 minutes into it, Schaeffer stopped mid-sentence and asked her, “Am I going to fast?” He spoke so long, in fact, that at one point the court reporter had to interrupt him so she could change her paper. When he finally reached a point where he started to repeat himself, Judge Fenn stopped him and handed down the sentence.
Judge Fenn found that given his alcohol addiction, he was not a candidate for probation. The judge then sentenced Schaeffer to 5 to 8 years in the Wyoming Penitentiary, with credit for the 403 days he's already served in the Sheridan County Detention Center.