ANGOLA – A man convicted of attempted murder for opening fire on motorists in northeastern Indiana was sentenced to 120 years in prison despite telling a judge he would kind of like to go home.
Donald William Myers III, 35, was sentenced Monday, nine years to the day after the April 29, 2004, shootings terrified motorists along U.S. 20 in far northeastern Indiana.
The Angola man was convicted April 19 of four counts of attempted murder for shooting at motorists and an Indiana State Police trooper. Myers, who has maintained his innocence, told Steuben County Circuit Court Judge Allen Wheat he didn’t shoot at anyone.
The Herald Republican reports that Myers’ mother, Judy Woneker, told Wheat her son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia 10 years before the shootings.
She said she has monitored her son’s condition closely for much of his life.
She asked the judge to allow her son to return home, where she would watch him 24/7.
Myers’ case had been on hold due to his mental state, but a forensic psychology board last year found him competent to stand trial.
During his trial, Myers told jurors he was a four-star general in the U.S. Marine Corps and a personal friend of former President George W. Bush.
Trooper L. Andrew Smith, whose cruiser was struck during the shootings, urged Wheat to impose the maximum sentence, saying that if Myers were free it would be a matter of when, not if he committed another crime.
Smith testified Monday that it’s lucky no one was injured by Myers’ gunfire.
Myers used a .20-gauge shotgun to shoot at a car containing a man, woman and child at a mobile home park where he lived.
David Brown told the court the shooting affected his grandson’s ability to trust strangers and feel safe.
He asked the judge to show him the same mercy that he showed all of his victims, which is none.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jeremy Musser said allowing Myers to go free would be a roll of the dice as to everybody’s physical welfare.
Wheat sentenced Myers for each crime consecutively, calling the shootings an egregious crime of violence and giving Myers 30 years for each conviction.
Myers has been in mental hospitals most of the time since his arrest.
His court-appointed attorney, Linda Wagoner, said Myers wants to be in the Indiana Department of Corrections instead of the mental health division.
But in his sentencing recommendation, Wheat suggested Myers be returned to a mental health facility, where he will be monitored and receive the appropriate medication.
The DOC will screen Myers and make the final determination.