Casper Man in 2017 Armed Standoff Wants Sentence Reduced
A Casper man, who with his girlfriend led law enforcement on a high-speed chase resulting in an armed standoff in Casper in June 2017, has asked federal court to reduce his sentence for firearms charges.
In March 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl sentenced Christopher Eads to 40 years for drug crimes, carjacking, assault on a federal officer, using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, with 25 of those years a mandatory consecutive sentence for discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting.
Eads filed his motion to vacate his sentence last week, saying the multiple shootings during the incident should be considered as part of one drug-trafficking event. Charging him twice for gun discharge crimes violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment, he added.
Skavdahl also sentenced Eads' co-defendant and then-girlfriend Santana Keener to 20 years of imprisonment for similar crimes on the night of June 3-4, 2017.
State and federal agents were planning to apprehend them that day while they were returning from Denver after a drug purchase. They planned to stop them on Interstate 25 before they reached Casper.
Kenner was driving, and somewhere between Glenrock and Casper realized she was being followed, and a chase ensued.
Eads started shooting at law enforcement, took over driving, turned around, drove to Glenrock, stole a car from an elderly woman, abandoned that car -- and Kenner -- in a ditch, stole a Glenrock police car, crashed it, stole another car and drove to Casper.
He stopped at Dayton Transmission on East F Street where the standoff ensued. It ended about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, June 4.
Eads is now serving his sentence in a high-security federal prison in Allenwood, Penn.
In his motion to vacate his sentence, he wrote that he had ineffective assistance of counsel who advised him to plead guilty to the 25-year mandatory consecutive sentence for the firearms crimes. Eads filed the motion without the assistance of an attorney.
Eads argued that federal courts have held that the prosecution must prove that the discharging firearm crimes are separate events to receive such a sentence.
"Mr. Eads asserts that the principal question here is whether he may be sentenced to two mandatory consecutive prison terms ... when he possessed and discharged a firearm during a single drug trafficking offense that resulted in separate drug possessions and drug distribution offenses," he wrote. "Mr. Eads contends that the statute is ambiguous on this question and that the rule of lenity must be applied."
Because the judge wrongfully applied the law, Eads is asking the court to set aside, vacate or correct his sentence.