Posted: Jun 13, 2012 12:09 PM by Melissa Anderson - MTN News
Updated: Jun 13, 2012 7:48 PM
HELENA- A man who was arrested in October after holding a convenience store clerk hostage and keeping Helena police at bay for hours was sentenced on Wednesday morning.
Judge Dorothy McCarter sentenced Eric Hamper to 10 years on one count and 10 years for a second count, with five of those years suspended.
Hamper is charged with aggravated kidnapping, robbery, and criminal endangerment. He's also register as a violent offender, and must pay restitution of more than $7,000 to victims for damage caused while shooting in the store.
Hamper is also prohibited from ever contacting the victim, and is banned from Friendly's convenience store for life.
During the sentencing hearing, Probation and Parole officer Mike Touchette testified that Hamper had several DUIs and some drug possession and usage prior to the October incident.
Dr. Dean Gregg testified after evaluating Hamper that the October incident was a "victim-associated suicide attempt," and that Hamper wanted to have a few cigarettes and a beer before he killed himself.
Hamper's attorney had requested a 15-year deferred sentence and a substance abuse rehabilitation program. He said that the incident was triggered by Hamper being suicidal over a woman he was dating, and that Hamper wasn't in the convenience store to rob the place or to hurt anyone.