Sean Carnell pleads not guilty to Meridian attacks

Idaho StatesmanNovember 19, 2013 

Sean Carnell in August 2013.

Meridian rampage suspect Sean Carnell pleaded not guilty Tuesday to assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery and 10 other charges during a brief hearing before Fourth District Judge Richard Greenwood.

"Good afternoon, your honor," Carnell said after he entered the courtroom and the judge greeted him. He wore a yellow and white Ada County Jail uniform and was wearing glasses.

Trial was set for April 21. Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Shelley Akamatsu and defense attorney Eric Rolfsen told Greenwood they expect the trial to last two weeks.

"We have a lot of investigation work to do," Rolfson said in asking to set the trial out several months.

Carnell is accused of seriously injuring two people and inflicting lesser injuries on three others and a dog during a series of nine events that took place over a two-hour period Aug. 21 in Meridian. Police said he also set a fire at his apartment and threw a rock through the window of a heavy equipment loader.

In a recent letter to the Idaho Statesman, Carnell appeared to confess to the attacks.

“I’m deeply sorry and ashamed for what happened to these victims,” Carnell wrote. “I cannot change what happened to them; I wish I could.”

He appeared resigned to being sent to prison for a long time.

“For this crime, they are going to put me away for 20 years,” he wrote.

The maximum penalties for Carnell’s alleged crimes range from one year in prison for cruelty to animals to life in prison for robbery.

Carnell told the Statesman he was "high" the day of the attacks, but did not specify what he had taken. He said he became addicted to drugs after a 2007 traffic accident while he was in high school. He was thrown from the back of a pickup and had the vehicle land on him, after playing a game of pickup football with some of his teammates from Capital High School.

A titanium plate was placed under his left eye and he underwent several surgeries.

Two of the victims in the Meridian attacks spent five days each in the hospital and were treated for serious injuries. Chris Cade, a Nampa fireman suffered extensive injuries to his mouth and face after being struck with a skateboard and landing face-first on the pavement.

Cade underwent four surgeries and may need more. He returned to work about 10 days ago.

Construction worker Mike Rice was struck repeatedly with a shovel in the head and back. He missed a month of work.

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