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Man to serve six to eight years for Maverik stabbing

Aug 29, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

A judge sentenced the man involved in the February stabbing assault at a Riverton Maverik Country Store to spend the next six to eight years in the custody of the Department of Corrections.

During the Aug. 23 hearing in Lander's 9th District Court, Judge Norman E. Young also ordered Thomas Joseph Shakespeare, 29, of the Riverton area, to pay roughly $74,600 in restitution to Indian Health Services for costs incurred for services to the victim, who reportedly lost his eye after Shakespeare attacked him.

"I think the sentencing is fair," Young told Shakespeare.

The judge also gave Shakespeare credit for time served in jail, 181 days, against the minimum and maximum prison sentence.

Three weeks after the Feb. 1 assault at the local convenience store on South Federal Boulevard, Riverton police identified Shakespeare as the suspect and issued a warrant for his arrest.

It took two days for authorities to catch up with Shakespeare, who was eventually captured by authorities in Nevada.

He was transferred to Fremont County and booked in the detention center on a $200,000 cash bond after police charged him with attempted second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and battery and a count of misdemeanor battery.

As part of a plea agreement, Shakespeare pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated assault and battery earlier this summer in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining charges.

Court documents state Shakespeare stabbed Darwin Gambler, of Riverton, in the eye once and multiple times in the side with a knife Feb. 1.

Gambler was 28 years old at the time of the attack.

The battery charge, which was eventually dismissed, asserted Shakespeare intentionally struck a second man, Ian Pine, of Riverton, in the face causing injuries to Pine's head and a nasal fracture. He was also 28 years old at the time.

Riverton police were dispatched to the Maverik at 11:40 p.m. concerning a man, later identified as Gambler, in the store and bleeding.

According to police reports, before officers arrived on scene, Gambler drove himself to Riverton Memorial Hospital for multiple stab wounds to his left ribcage and one in his left eye socket.

He was later taken by air ambulance to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City for treatment.

The convenience store, which is located at the intersection of South Federal Boulevard and East Monroe Avenue, was closed for two days while police investigated the scene.

Sentencing

After Shakespeare's public defender, Kate McKay, and Fremont County deputy attorney Patrick LeBrun disputed the restitution going to a governmental entity, McKay argued that a prison sentence combined with high restitution wouldn't help her client. She said saddling Shakespeare with a $74,000 bill could harm his rehabilitation for life after prison.

LeBrun disagreed, saying he felt someone who was fully rehabilitated would want to "correct the harm that he has done."

LeBrun also asked Young to accept the six-to-eight-year jail term under the agreement.

"It's a terrible crime," LeBrun said. "The victim lost his eyeball. ... I don't think he expected to lose his eye that day."

Toward the conclusion of the hearing, a man sitting in the audience waved toward the judge.

"I want to speak with you," the man said to Young.

The man said he was Shakespeare's father. After Young agreed, the man walked to the podium.

He said he is taking care of Shakespeare's son, which is a struggle because the man has diabetes and is on dialysis and can't walk well. He also is responsible for Shakespeare's mother's disabilities.

"He should be taking care of me and his mother," the man said about Shakespeare. "Right now I know that I'm on my last leg, and next time I fall down, I may not get up."

"I need him now," the man continued about his son. "He's got to help me. He's got to help me. He's got to help me take care of this little guy. ... I'm going to die really soon."

Before the hearing wrapped up, Shakespeare shared a few words, saying, "I think the sentencing is fair."

"It's a sad situation no matter how you slice it," Young said.

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