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AUGUST 18, 2012
BLACKFOOT â€” A family argument that started as a debate over a funeral has now ended with jail time for Jesse William Whipkey. The 67-year-old man was charged with aggravated assault after he pulled a loaded weapon on his daughter, Amy Mayer, at his home during a dispute.
Judge David C. Nye presided over Whipkey's trial and said of the sentencing, "In my years as a judge I have had occasions to sentence killers, and those charged with aggravated assault. It is safe to sayâ€¦ this is the most difficult sentencingâ€¦ so far."
Nye explained that the difficulties were the result of Whipkey's age, ailing health condition and the fact that he had a long history of gun ownership with no problems, no prior record and served our country honorably.
Nye said, "I am not here to sentence Whipkey due to his age, his parenting skills or lack thereof. I am not basing a decision off of whether or not he attended a funeral; I am not sentencing his daughters. My concern is the protection of society."
Protection of society is precisely what prosecuting attorney Scott Andrew was concerned about. During the sentencing hearing, Andrew said, "The protection of society goes beyond Amyâ€¦ Whipkey pulled a gun. What motivates a person to pull a gun on a daughter?"
Andrew explained that while Whipkey's ultimate desire is to be 'left alone', being on parole and having his sister live across the street all provide opportunities for Whipkey to get upset.
Whipkey's counsel, Neal S. Randall, suggested that Whipkey's declining health would make it difficult for him to serve a sentence in jail and that it would also make it difficult for Whipkey to break probation.
Nye disagreed, "How do I know he's going to follow the rules of probation? It doesn't take a lot of health to pull a trigger." Nye later asked, "Will that violation of probation be the moment he pulls the trigger?"
Nye's concerns about Whipkey's ability to follow instruction delved into Whipkey's military record. There's an instance in which Whipkey was court-martialed and lost rank.
Whipkey spoke out about the charges, "I lost rank because me and my men are mechanics. The commanding officer tried to make us go out on search and destroy. To kill people. We had no right to kill people. We had the right to fix tanks and engines. Not to kill people. My problem was I disagreed with the captain."
Nye's response was, "You didn't serve our country so you could point guns at someone else."
Randall said that Whipkey has served six months in jail already, under strict guidelines and rules and has not had any problems."
Nye sentenced Whipkey to 3 years fixed, 5 years indeterminate with Bingham County retaining jurisdiction for 365 days.
During his sentencing Whipkey spoke out and said, "If I die in prisonâ€¦do these girls get the death penalty as I do?"
Nye answered simply, "No. If you leave this courtroom on probationâ€¦ and kill someone. That is on my shoulders. I am not prepared for that."
Whipkey and his attorney have 42 days to appeal the judge's decision.