Calif man sentenced in booby trap police attacks

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2011 1:48 AM
Calif man sentenced in booby trap police attacks

A man convicted of orchestrating a series of bizarre but botched attacks on Hemet police _ including one involving a rocket _ was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences in Riverside County, prosecutors said Friday.

Nicholas Smit, 41, was found guilty last month of the attempted murder of a police officer after launching a series of attacks against a Hemet police detective who had arrested him on a drug charge.

No one was hurt in any of the attacks, which terrorized Hemet police between Dec. 2009 and July 2010.

In one foiled plot, natural gas was rerouted into the office of a gang task force and rigged to explode. In another, a training rocket was fired from the roof of a nearby market and started a small fire.

Smit also left jagged boards studded with nails outside Det. Chuck Johnson's home.

The Press-Enterprise ( reported that the judge sentenced Smit to the maximum.

Smit's alleged co-conspirator is set to be tried separately in January.

Johnson told the court Friday that the threats and attacks tore apart his family, forcing them to leave Hemet in the interest of safety.

"Who would have ever thought that a police officer, a 20-year Marine, would have to take his family and move, go into hiding," Johnson said.