Boise man sentenced for assaulting BPD officers

April 24, 2014 

James Twitchell

A 56-year-old Boise man must serve at least five years in prison for pulling a gun on two Boise police officers last July, the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday.

James Twitchell will be eligible for parole after five years but could serve up to 15 years under the sentence imposed by 4th District Judge Richard Greenwood Wednesday. He received credit for the 106 days he’s already served in jail for the crimes.

Twitchell was initially charged with two counts of attempted first degree murder but pleaded guilty to reduced charges of felony aggravated assault in February.

The charges stem from an incident on July 20 when two Boise officers went to Twitchell’s house near Five Mile and Ustick roads to investigate a report that he had battered his wife, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office. The wife had fled to a neighbor’s house and called police.

Twitchell let the officers into the house but immediately grabbed a gun from the top of a TV stand and tried to point it at the officers, prosecutors said. The two officers struggled with him and ultimately got the gun away from him. Twitchell suffered severe facial bruising in the struggle, and an officer’s hand was injured. Both were treated at a local hospital.

During the struggle and in later interviews with detectives, Twitchell repeatedly said he had intended to shoot the officers because he was angry with Boise police over an earlier DUI arrest, prosecutors said. (He pleaded guilty to charge of excessive DUI in 2011 and served about a dozen days in jail.)

Both officers testified Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, talking about their fear during the struggle that the suspect was going to shoot them. Judge Greenwood ruled that prison time was necessary to protect the public from Twitchell and to deter others from similar behavior.

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