A 56-year-old Guemes Island man previously convicted of eight charges, including attempted murder, was sentenced to 72 years in prison in Skagit County Superior Court Wednesday.
Charles Feld threw a mixture of gasoline and chemicals on a neighbor and his friend and threatened to light them on fire after the pair confronted him over a dispute about a rototiller Feld had rented from the neighbor. He then fired several rounds from a pistol but hit no one.
While the two men were being treated, authorities received a report of a fire at the neighbor’s home. It was destroyed.
The case has gone on two years since the April 2010 altercation.
Feld was found guilty in an April jury trial of all eight charges against him, including two counts of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree arson. The additional charges include four counts of first-degree assault and felony harassment.
He faced up to 109 years in prison.
A charge of illegal firearms possession, which was dropped from the trial to avoid prejudicing the jury, was officially dismissed.
During the trial, the defense argued Feld was acting in self-defense when the two men confronted him at his home. They said there was no proof Feld tried to light one of them on fire nor that he tried to shoot one of the men.
After his arrest, Feld was diagnosed with an unspecified psychotic disorder by a psychologist at Western State Hospital. He had been committed to a mental health facility several times and refused to cooperate with lawyers and his doctors, court records state.
Feld’s defense attorneys in a sentencing brief asked the court to impose a sentence of 200 months — about 16 1/2 years — based on Feld’s self-defense claim and the “significant impairment” of his ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct as a result of his mental illness.
Judge Michael Rickert did not give Feld the low sentence but allowed him to serve two assault charges concurrently with his attempted murder charges, saving about 20 years.
Feld has an extensive criminal history, including a prior arrest for attempted homicide in Pierce County in 1994, according to court documents.
He has been arrested in Island County, Minnesota and West Virginia for assault, burglary, trespassing, harassment, stalking and illegal possession of firearms and dangerous weapons, court documents say.
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