Despite the grave nature of his crime, Michael Sanford, the 20-year-old man from the United Kingdom who tried to assassinate Donald Trump during his campaign rally in June in Las Vegas, received a light sentence during his court hearing on Tuesday. According to reports, his sentence was trimmed down to just 1 year after pleading guilty and admitting that he suffers from a mental illness.
At a federal court in Las Vegas, Sandford, who was illegally living in the U.S. when he committed the crime, appeared before Judge James Mahan to receive his sentence for attempting to kill Trump earlier this year.
Originally, he was supposed to spend 20 years in prison but after submitting a guilty plea and citing his mental condition as the driving force behind his action, his sentence was reduced to just 12 months. His lawyers noted that he suffered a psychotic episode during the time that he tried to shoot Trump, The Hill reported.
“You should not be ashamed or embarrassed about it,” Judge Mahan told Sandford. “You need medication. You’re not a hardened criminal. You’re not evil or sociopathic like a lot of people we have. I don’t think you want to kill anybody. Thus was just some crazy stunt that your mind told you to do so.”
Despite his mental illness, some people would probably agree that Sandford should have received a harsher sentence that 12 months in prison. After all, aside from attempted murder, he also disrupted an official function and handled a firearm while he was an illegal alien in the U.S.
In addition, even though Sanders claims that he suffers from autism, he still had the mental capacity to plot his crime. According to his mother, Sandford left the U.K. in 2015 to travel around the U.S. As noted by BBC, Sandford had been planning his attack on Trump for about a year. He even learned how to shoot a pistol by visiting a gun range in Las Vegas.
Then, in June, Sandford executed his plan by pretending to be a Trump supporting who wanted to get the then-presidential candidate’s autograph. Once he got close enough to Trump, he tried to take a police officer’s weapon to shoot him. Fortunately, he was nabbed before he was able to take a shot.
According to initial investigations, Sandford had tickets for another Trump rally in Arizona. Investigators believed this was his backup plan in case he fails to kill Trump in Las Vegas.