An Idaho Falls man who fired shots in the vicinity of Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office deputies was sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison Wednesday, with a maximum potential of 15 years.
District Judge Bruce Pickett told Channean Deveau, 27, that his crime was too serious for retained jurisdiction.
“Mr. Deveau, I want to tell you that I do think you can become the man you should be,” Pickett said. “You have a lot of support. I do think you need help. I do think, based on the seriousness of the crime, that the court has tried to balance leniency as well as seriousness.”
Deveau was arrested in February after he fired at deputies and bystanders who were attempting to help him after he intentionally crashed his car into a tree on Snake River Road near Heise. Deveau later admitted he attacked the deputies as an attempted suicide by cop.
Deveau shot at the ground and shot in the direction of the deputies multiple times, getting steadily closer to their position. Deputies returned fire only after he pointed the gun directly at them. No one was hit by the bullets. Deputies later incapacitated Deveau with rubber bullets, arrested him and transported him to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Defense Attorney Jason Gustaves argued for retained jurisdiction during the sentencing, saying Deveau needed mental health treatment. He also said Deveau had troubles with substance abuse, particularly alcohol.
“He didn’t want to hurt anybody,” Gustaves said. “What he wanted was law enforcement to put an end to him.”
Gustaves cited the support Deveau had from friends and family, many of whom wrote letters to the judge on his behalf.
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Adam Garvin acknowledged the mental health factors, as well as Deveau’s lack of criminal history. However, he noted that a presentence investigator found Deveau was at a high risk to reoffend. He also said Deveau did not acknowledge the extent of his actions.
According to Garvin, Deveau claimed he did not know there were people near him when he fired the gun, despite reports from deputies that he fired at them.
“He pointed the gun in their direction and pulled the trigger more than once,” Garvin said.
Garvin also noted that the victims were people who had been trying to assist Deveau.
“The victims in this case at first were trying to help the defendant because he crashed the car,” Garvin said. “They had to run and duck for cover because he started shooting at them.”
Deveau gave an apology during his comments to the court.
“It was a very selfish decision for me to try to get them to kill me,” Deveau said. “Even if I’d gotten what I wanted, it would have changed their lives forever.”
In his comments, Pickett praised the deputies, noting they fired only once each when Deveau shot his weapon at them.
“In this case, they showed remarkable constraint when someone was actually firing a weapon at them,” Pickett said.
Pickett said he was impressed by the letters of support people had sent for Deveau, but pointed out he had not made use of that support when he was struggling.
Five counts of aggravated assault were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Deveau was sentenced to two to five years for both of the remaining counts of aggravated assault. He was sentenced to zero to 15 years for a deadly weapon enhancement. The charges will be served concurrently.
Deveau was given credit for seven months he had already served in jail.