OTTAWA — When offered a chance to speak, Jeffrey Sorrentino didn’t regret the 12-hour standoff he mounted at his Peru home and didn’t apologize to the two officers he missed with his bullet.

More than a dozen firearms, two pipe bombs, several swords, a spear gun, a crossbow and a lot of ammunition were among the items police recove…

Instead, Sorrentino lapsed Thursday into a rambling rehash of how no one had listened to his personal grievances or given him a fair shake when he stood for trial earlier this year.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said finally. “To me, it’s been a kangaroo court.”

Ordinarily, Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. would not let such a remorseless statement pass without comment. Instead, Ryan said he “took no offense” to Sorrentino’s characterization of the proceedings and opted for 10 years in prison, the minimum sentence for shooting at police without injury.

The crime is subject to the state Truth in Sent-encing Act, requiring certain felons to serve at least 85 percent of their prison terms. With about 15 months’ credit for time served, Sorrentino could be released in late 2025 or early 2026. Ryan also ordered the AK-47 used to fire the shot confiscated, while the many other firearms seized remain, for now, in police custody. (See sidebar)

Ryan had found Sorrentino guilty but mentally ill, a finding that provides Sorrentino access to mental health services in prison.

Sorrentino, now 58, was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm for shooting a bullet through his front door during a standoff at his home on Sept. 25, 2017. The shot missed Sheriff Tom Templeton and came especially close to Lt. David Guinnee; but the mere proximity to a police officer elevated Sorrentino’s sentencing range above the customary range of 6-30 years.

Thursday, Sorrentino and defense attorney Ryan Hamer argued for a new trial, saying Ryan failed to properly weigh the evidence in the case and accusing former defense attorney Douglas Olivero of ineffective counsel.

Ryan made quick work of both motions. The judge said he had already considered, and rejected, Sorrentino’s defense that he fired the shot accidentally — a claim contradicted by taped calls in which Sorrentino openly declared it a warning shot. The judge also rejected claims that Olivero had in any way neglected or mishandled the case.

Those issues resolved, Ryan and the attorneys turned their attention to how much time Sorrentino should get.

Assistant La Salle County state’s attorney Matt Kidder asked for 15 years, noting that aside from the shot fired Sorrentino risked additional lives by booby-trapping his home.

“To some extent it’s dumb luck that this was not a homicide,” Kidder said.

Hamer asked for the minimum 10 years, citing Sorrentino’s clean criminal history, military service and “rough stretch” of personal problems that finally spun out of control.

“This incident was out of character,” Hamer said.

State’s attorney Karen Donnelly said she was unhappy Ryan rejected the call to incarcerate Sorrentino until he reached his early 70s.

“I’m disappointed it wasn’t more because it threatened the lives of two members of the sheriff’s office,” Donnelly said.

Templeton was more satisfied with Thursday’s ruling.

“We’re extremely pleased that the whole situation resolved itself as peacefully as it did,” the sheriff said. “The sentence imposed is certainly within reasonable limits.”

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or Follow him on Twitter @NT_Court.


Tom Collins is the NewsTribune Senior Reporter. He can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or
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