POCATELLO — Twain Thomas was sentenced to a prison term of five years fixed and 10 years indeterminate for attempted murder and five years fixed for aggravated assault Thursday.
Thomas was also ordered to pay $1,200.
Before imposing the sentence, Sixth District Judge Robert Naftz said he believed there was hope for Thomas, who pleaded guilty to the charges in November as part of a plea agreement.
“I have to impose a sentence that protects society and includes punishment,” Naftz said.
Last February, Thomas broke into the apartments of two of his neighbors on 200 block of South Garfield in Pocatello wielding a large machete. He was shot three times in the chest by James Cvengros after Thomas battered his way through the door.
Cvengros video recorded the event and the court got a chance to view the footage Thursday.
After Thomas busted out windows in his own upstairs apartment, he then broke into another second floor apartment. The audio on the video clip captures that resident screaming at Thomas to get out. The woman managed to chase Thomas out of the apartment and that’s when he went downstairs to the Cvengros apartment.
As he beat on the door, Cvengros told Thomas to leave. As Thomas broke through the door, Cvengros warned him that he was armed, but Thomas kept coming. That’s when Cvengros fired three shots in rapid succession.
The video view ends at that point, but the audio continues, and Thomas can be heard moaning as Cvengros tells him to stay down.
Cvengros said it was the second time that Thomas had broken into his apartment. The suspect kicked the door in months earlier because the music was too loud. That incident led Cvengros to buy the weapon he used to stop Thomas.
Thomas apologized to his victims Thursday.
“I know they were terrified,” Thomas said.
Dave Martinez represented Thomas in the case and he noted that the suspect survived a violent childhood and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Thomas also sustained traumatic brain injury from a vehicle accident as a teenager.
Martinez added that Thomas, a military veteran, had no previous history of violence.
Bannock County Deputy Zach Parris said the crime was of particular concern as it affected two households, and he said that Thomas would also be able to seek help in prison.
Martinez had asked that the court retain jurisdiction and sentence Thomas to psychiatric facility for treatment.
Following the hearing, Cvengros said he would have liked to see Thomas sentenced to a longer prison term for threatening his life.
Cvengros’s girlfriend, Kaila Gerhart, was at the residence when the shooting occurred. And she said that she still has nightmares about the incident.
“The trial kind of brought it all back up again,” Gerhart said.