By CHANSE WATSON
WALLACE — Judge Scott Wayman addressed the criminal cases of 23 different individuals during Law Day on Wednesday at the Shoshone County Courthouse. Charges pertaining to these cases varied in scope, but included drug crimes, property crimes, probation violations, and even some serious violent crimes.
Among these violent cases was the sentencing of 32-year-old Tyle Lee Potts, who pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to elude a police officer in a motor vehicle, aggravated assault, resisting or obstructing an officer, attempted burglary, malicious injury to property, driving under the influence, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and inflicting injury on a police dog.
Potts was arrested on May 11 after leading authorities through a manhunt through Kellogg.
The incident began around 11 p.m. when Idaho State Troopers attempted to initiate a traffic stop on Potts after witnessing him damaging several cars belonging to
Dave Smith Motors in the area of West Cameron Avenue and Hill Street.
Failing to yield, he drove off in the 2000 GMC Yukon he was using to ram the parked cars; causing the troopers to give chase.
Potts attempted to elude the multi-agency effort to catch him by driving and running across the city over the course of two hours.
During this mayhem, he caused noticeable damage to vehicles and structures around town by crashing into or attempting to break into them. After totaling his vehicle near Brown Street in a failed attempt to get back onto the freeway, he exited the vehicle and tried to escape on foot. Law enforcement then transitioned from a pursuit to a manhunt within the city.
It was during this manhunt that an Osburn Police Officer discharged their weapon at the suspect. No injuries were sustained by any party in the attempt.
Potts fled to the hillside near Shoshone Medical Center and it was there that he confronted a K-9 from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s Tracking/Apprehension K-9 Unit. This confrontation ended with him choking out the K-9.
Shortly after he was discovered by the K-9, however, officials were able to subdue Potts with the help of a taser and arrest him.
Prior to sentencing, Defense Attorney Michael Horrocks presented Judge Wayman with letters written by Potts’s loved ones that attested to his client’s character. After reviewing them, prosecutor Bernard McHugh presented the states position and explained their sentence recommendation of 25 fixed years in prison (plus financial restitutions).
“I think this is a reasonable sentence,” he said. “The facts of this case are beyond disturbing … in light of the facts of this case along with the criminal history of the defendant.”
Comparing Potts’s crimes to something one would normally see in Chicago or Los Angels, McHugh highlighted the fact that his actions not only put law enforcement in danger (specifically the police K-9 he incapacitated), but also innocent bystanders.
He also acknowledged that Potts blames the influence of drugs as a reason for his behavior, but made the point that even on drugs — most users do not have the capacity to commit these types of bizarre and violent crimes.
Horrocks retorted by stating that Potts has since taken responsibility for his crimes and “it’s not who he is and who he wants to be.”
Citing drugs as the cause of his behavior, Horrocks asked for a lighter two-year fixed/eight-year indeterminate sentence, on the basis that his client is a decent person when he is not on drugs and this could be a chance for rehabilitation.
“He would not have acted this way if he wasn’t on drugs,” he said. “He is not excusing his behavior, your honor. He understands that it was his decision to use the drugs that put him in this position. (A lighter sentence) would give Mr. Potts the chance of rehabilitation. It would allow him to take advantage of any programs that are available through the prison system so that he could show them that he is a suitable candidate for parole and ease back into the civilian population.”
Potts also spoke briefly and apologized to everyone who was involved in the incident and stressed “that’s not who I am.”
Upon hearing from both the prosecution and defense, Judge Wayman chose not to follow the recommendation of either councilor and handed down a 10-year fixed/10-year indeterminate prison sentence.
“The main goal of sentencing is the protection of society,” he explained. “… (It appears that) if you are clean sober, you are a decent fellow. If you are not, you are dangerous.”
After briefly recounting the events and crimes of May 11, Wayman even admitted to Potts that he was surprised that he survived the night.
Altogether, Potts received three, five-year fixed sentences, one 10-year fixed/10 indeterminate sentence, 180 days in jail, and a plethora of court fines and fees for damage restitutions. The separate prison sentences are set to run concurrently, not consecutively — meaning time served for one sentence will count toward all sentences.
Also appearing before Judge Wayman at Wednesday’s Law Day for his arraignment was 45-year-old Eric Goyette, who was arrested on Aug. 8 for three separate sexual child abuse charges. The charges include abuse by soliciting a minor under 16 to participate in a sexual act, abuse by making photographic or electronic recordings of a minor under 16, and abuse by inducing/causing/permitting a minor under 16 to witness an act of sexual conduct.
In his first court appearance in August, Goyette pleaded not guilty to all charges. In this most recent appearance, Goyette and his attorney Erik Smith asked for a jury trial and requested that his bond amount of $100,000 be lowered.
Smith argued that his client, who lives locally and promised to abide by a no-contact order in place, needed to get back to work and see his family.
Assistant Prosecutor Ben Allen did not mince words when he made it clear that lowering the bond amount would be a mistake.
“The state would absolutely oppose bond reduction,” he said. “All of the allegations (against Goyette) are extremely alarming.”
Allen also added that because his case is an ongoing investigation, further charges could be presented as more evidence is processed by law enforcement.
Judge Wayman was also quick in deciding to deny lowering of the bail amount by stating that based on the unusually high amount of evidence already presented (even before trial), Goyette was too much of a risk to be allowed back into the community.
Court records did not immediately indicate when Goyette’s jury trial is scheduled for.