A U.S. District Court judge on Friday sentenced a Puyallup-area man who shot two intruders to death in 2012 to seven years in prison for growing marijuana and using guns to protect his stash.
Jeremy Capodanno, 37, was not prosecuted in the deaths of Roy Piercy of Roy and Frederick Adamkiewicz of Tacoma, both 30. Capodanno shot them multiple times after finding the men, who were both armed and wearing masks, inside his garage in December 2012.
Capodanno claimed self-defense, saying he feared for his own safety and that of his young son when Piercy and Adamkiewicz entered his garage.
But investigators later found a sophisticated marijuana-growing operation and a number of firearms in Capodanno's home, and he was charged in federal court with unlawful manufacture of pot and using a firearm in a gun crime.
Prosecutors theorized Piercy and Adamkiewicz intended to steal marijuana and money from the house. Capodanno's defense attorney, Michael Schwartz, intimated the men might have had more sinister plans, pointing out they were carrying plastic ties and had been casing the house for hours.
Capodanno pleaded guilty in October.
Federal prosecutors recommended the seven-year sentence, saying Capodanno was a long-time drug dealer who set the stage for what happened at his house.
"This is what happens when you put guns together with drugs," said Vince Lombardi, an assistant U.S. Attorney. "People get hurt. People die."
Defense attorney Michael Schwartz argued for a five-year sentence.
Capodanno, who grew up in the Puget Sound region and was a college soccer player, has a wide support network and the elements necessary to become "a productive citizen" after his term of incarceration.
"He can come out of this a better man, not just for himself, but for his son," Schwartz said.
Capodanno then was given a chance to speak.
He said, "I did what I had to do," when he killed Piercy and Adamkiewicz, but he said he regretted that his marijuana grow put his family in danger and led to the deaths of the men. He also apologized to their families.
"I take full responsibility for everything that happened," Capodanno told Judge Ronald Leighton. "If I could go back and change it all, I would. I'd change everything."
Leighton got the last word.
The judge told Capodanno he thought he could still redeem himself and lead a productive life, "but you have earned 84 months."
That sentence was in line with those meted out to other defendants who committed similar crimes but did not have Capodanno's advantages in life, like a stable family and a college education, the judge said.
"Equal justice means something," Leighton said.
The judge also agreed with prosecutors that Capodanno's life-style contributed to the "firefight in your garage."
"The conditions were set, the fuse was lit, and the ravage began," Leighton said.
The judge allowed Capodanno to voluntarily report to prison once he has his affairs in order.