Crime

He shot at cars on Interstate 84. Thursday, a judge shortened his sentence.

Lajai J. Pridgette
Lajai J. Pridgette

A federal judge on Thursday shaved off more than a year from the 11-year sentence of Lajai J. Pridgette after the Sacramento man argued the sentence was improperly enhanced because of two previous convictions.

In an appeal before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Pridgette, 31, said that a sentencing report used by Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge misrepresented how long he spent behind bars for two drug convictions in 2003 and 2004 in Sacramento.

The report said Pridgette spent a year in jail on one of the convictions and 60 days on the other. Records that had not been included in the original presentence report showed that Pridgette served a total of 14 days in jail for both cases.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, a sentence can be enhanced based upon the time served for previous convictions.

A three-member panel of the appeals court in August vacated Pridgette’s sentence and ordered Lodge to reconsider how long the defendant would remain in prison.

Originally, Pridgette was sentenced to 137 months. On Thursday, Lodge shortened the sentence to 120 months — 10 years. He also ordered Pridgette to pay $13,709 in restitution.

He had faced up to 45 years in prison.

Idaho State Police received a call on Oct. 29, 2013, from an eastbound motorist who said a man in a car behind him on Interstate 84 fired a shot that shattered both of his side rear windows near the Boise Factory Outlets.

An hour later, police received a report of a gunshot fired into a 1995 Toyota pickup 16 miles east of Mountain Home, in Elmore County. The bullet passed through the door of the cab of the pickup and lodged inside.

No injuries were reported.

An Idaho State Police trooper later spotted the vehicle in Wendell, 106 miles east of Boise. Pridgette was apprehended without incident as he walked out of a convenience store.

The 2013 Ford Mustang he was driving had been reported stolen from Hertz, after the rental car had not been returned.

Pridgette has an extensive police record in California, with convictions on several drug charges, assault with a deadly weapon and promotion of prostitution.

An Ada County jury in July 2014 found Pridgette guilty of two counts of possession of devices to make counterfeit credit cards, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and transportation of a stolen vehicle.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell

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