Assault, attempted shooting ends in five-year sentence
A Prineville man, Benjamen Trevor Neasham, 30, was sentenced Monday for assaulting and firing a weapon at his former girlfriend near Haystack Reservoir Sept. 26.
Neasham, who faced 10 charges ranging from attempted murder to harassment, was found guilty of seven charges Dec. 12, by Circuit Court Judge Daina Vitolins, following a two-day bench trial in the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Vitolins sentenced him Dec. 18 to five years in prison.
According to the arrest affidavit, a deputy responded to a report of a physical domestic altercation near the Haystack Reservoir camping area after a 911 call at 7:47 p.m.
When the deputy located the 29-year-old victim, she had taken refuge at a nearby camp. The woman, who had been involved with Neasham for nearly a year, said the two had been living in a camp trailer. After sundown, she fell asleep on the bed and was awakened by notifications on her phone for Neasham's Facebook account. From the notifications, she believed that he was talking with another woman in what she felt was an inappropriate way.
The woman confronted him, and he became angry and started choking her, holding her down, on the bed. When he released her, she fled the trailer and tried to get into a car. He chased her, knocked her down and began choking her once again, telling her he was going to kill her. The woman kicked him to get him off her and then ran to the nearby camp, where she called her mother, who called the police.
While at the camp, the woman saw Neasham driving east and thought he was leaving, so started back to her camp, where her other vehicle was located. As she was walking back, he returned and drove toward her at a high rate of speed. When he was near, she told him that police had been called, and he got out, threatened her and began chasing her.
The woman reported that he fired about six shots in her direction from her .38 caliber revolver. The nearby campers reported hearing five gunshots. Neasham fled, and was later located in Idaho.
Following the trial, Vitolins found Neasham guilty of unlawful use of a weapon — a firearm, and possession of a stolen vehicle, Class C felonies; strangulation and menacing constituting domestic violence, and recklessly endangering another person, Class A misdemeanors; and second-degree disorderly conduct and harassment, Class B misdemeanors. He was acquitted on attempting to commit murder, coercion and fourth-degree assault.
At sentencing on Dec. 18, the victim said Neasham had lied about the incident and claimed he was the victim. "Obviously and clearly, you are the attacker," she said, before warning his "new girlfriend" about his lies, and storming out of the courtroom.
Neasham addressed the court and acknowledged making "some very poor decisions."
"I'm very sorry for those decisions," he said, adding, "I'm not a violent person."
During sentencing, Vitolins noted, "You took her weapon and loaded it and went looking for her." After frightening the victim and the other campers, she said, he fled to Idaho.
In addition to the five-year sentence, Vitolins sentenced him to 24 months of post-prison supervision.
Brooks McClain, of the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, prosecuted the case, and attorney Matthew Murphy represented Neasham.