Gun thief gets 125-year prison term

Aug. 1, 2012 at 2:25 PM

COLVILLE, Wash., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- A convicted gun thief in Washington state got a 125-year prison term, 100 years longer than sentences given for a murder involving one of the guns, records say.

Christopher Nichols, 27, declined a plea deal and took his case to trial, where a jury found him guilty of 21 charges that included gun theft, trafficking in stolen property and being a felon in possession of firearms, The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday.

The state's 1995 "Hard Time for Armed Crime" law obligates Nichols to serve his time for the gun crimes consecutively, Stevens County (Wash.) Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said, and Tuesday Superior Court Judge Pat Monasmith handed down a 125-year sentence.

"This law has been upheld many times in appellate court. It represents a decision by the Legislature to strike at the root of violent crime," Rasmussen noted.

One of the guns, which Nichols and an accomplice stole from a home in 2011, was used in the murder of Gordon Feist, 63, of Colville, Wash. Nichols was not involved in the crime, but the three suspects involved pleaded guilty, then testified against Nichols. The three each received sentences between 15 and 26 and one-half years, the newspaper said.

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