EVERETT — Thomas Susnios could not recall why he rammed his car head-on into a police cruiser in January 2019, and then got out and screamed, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you!”
He was likely experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia leading up to the incident, defense attorney Laura Shaver said last week at a sentencing hearing in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Prolonged prison time, she argued, would be detrimental to her client’s mental health.
Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss ordered the defendant to serve 8½ years in prison Wednesday.
“I agree with everything your attorney said, I think that prison is probably the worst place for you,” Weiss told the defendant. “My job can be really frustrating.”
The defendant, 27, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and third-degree assault earlier this year. Under state guidelines, he faced a range of 8½ to 11⅓ years behind bars.
“I feel like if I go to jail for 10 years, it’s not going to help me,” Susnios told the judge Wednesday. “I’m not a criminal, I’m not a violent person, I just need help, and I’ve been getting it.”
On the night of Jan. 25, 2019, Susnios sat in his parked car, with the headlights off, outside the Everett Police Department’s South Precinct, according to court documents.
Officer Jared Corson, who has since resigned for unrelated reasons, walked to his cruiser and backed out of a parking space. Susnios, with the headlights still off, accelerated and collided with Corson’s patrol vehicle on purpose, according to the charges. The incident was caught on security cameras, according to court documents.
An eyewitness estimated the defendant’s car was moving at 30 to 40 mph. Airbags went off in both cars. After the crash, Corson and the other driver got out of their cars. Approaching the officer, Susnios screamed, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you,” according to the charges.
A fight broke out. Susnios said two more times that he would kill Corson. The officer called for backup, and with the help of another officer, forced Susnios to the ground and arrested him.
Susnios was transported to the hospital. His head was hurting, he said, and he kept asking why he was there, according to court documents. He reportedly told a nurse he was driving to go pray at a mosque, but did not say anything about the crash.
He posted bail in April 2019.
At the Wednesday hearing, Susnios’ attorney asked the judge to allow her client to remain out of custody until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The judge obliged, ordering Susnios to begin serving his sentence May 17.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterellen