POCATELLO — A local man who shot a Pocatello couple with a .45-caliber pistol at point-blank range and attacked a Bannock County Jail deputy in the summer of 2019 was sentenced to serve a unified sentence of 30 years in prison Thursday.
Steven Ivan Holmes, 33, of Pocatello, received the sentence during a Thursday court hearing at the Bannock County Courthouse, which Holmes attended via video conference from the Bannock County Jail.
Sixth District Judge Javier Gabiola imposed a sentence after Holmes pleaded guilty in August to one count of aggravated battery, a weapons enhancement charge and one count of battery against a detention staff member, all felonies, as part of a plea bargain with the Bannock County Prosecutor’s Office.
In exchange for Holmes’ guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to dismiss an additional count of aggravated battery he faced for the July 30, 2019, incident in which he shot the man and his wife while they were sitting in their car parked in the driveway of their home on North 10th Avenue in Pocatello.
Both the man and his wife survived the shooting.
“I find you are a risk to the community,” Gabiola said when handing down the sentence. “The ultimate factor that drives this court in the sentences is the protection of society. Mr. Holmes you pulled out a .45-caliber handgun that you had concealed and you shot (the victims) point blank. … You are lucky they didn’t die. They very well could have. (The female victim) was within an inch of losing her life from your conduct.”
Additionally, Holmes is accused of punching a Bannock County jailer in the face and tackling him to the jail floor in August 2019 while incarcerated at the jail.
For the one count of aggravated battery and the weapons enhancement charge, Gabiola imposed a unified sentence of 25 years, of which Holmes must serve 15 years before being eligible for parole. Gabiola also imposed a unified sentence of five years in prison for Holmes attacking the jail deputy, of which he must spend at least two years in prison before being eligible for parole.
The five-year sentence for bartering a detention staff member was ordered consecutive to the 25-year sentence for the aggravated battery and weapons enhancement. Consecutive sentences run back-to-back and are distinct from concurrent sentences, whereby convicted defendants serve all the time at once.
Before firing one bullet from a. 45-caliber pistol, which critically injured the local woman and grazed her husband, Holmes was experiencing a mental health crisis that included him making statements that he was the messiah and a direct disciple of Jesus Christ, Holmes’ former roommate told the Idaho State Journal last August.
Holmes’ Pocatello attorney, Robert Otto Eldredge Jr., explained to Gabiola during the sentencing hearing that Holmes has since been diagnosed with paranoia and schizophrenia and is taking the proper medication, adding that “the young man who severely injured those people is not the same man that is in front of you now.”
Eldredge had asked the judge to put Holmes’ on probation and to grant a withheld judgement. Further, Eldredge also asked the judge to consider sending Holmes on a “rider,” known officially as a sentence with retained jurisdiction, which would have allowed Holmes to receive special treatment for up to one year while incarcerated at an Idaho Department of Correction facility.
Lastly, Eldredge asked the judge to consider imposing a prison sentence of five years fixed with a longer indeterminate time.
Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog recommended the judge impose a unified sentence of 30 years in prison, of which he asked for 15 years to be served before Holmes would be eligible for parole.
Ultimately, Gabiola ruled the risk to public safety was too great to allow Holmes to live freely in the community and opted for the sentence of incarceration.
“There is no question that you have mental health conditions, however I feel those issues will be addressed with incarceration. It is not appropriate to place you in the community with supervision…. (The victims) in this case will not be the same because of your actions … and there is undue risk of your being out in the community.”
As Holmes left the video conference hearing, he waved at Gabiola and said, “Have a blessed one judge.”