Sequim man gets 8-year sentence for assault of Port Angeles police officer

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man convicted earlier this month of trying to run over a police officer in May has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Jacob Kendall Backman, 36, was sentenced Tuesday to 96 months in prison and 18 months community custody by Clallam County Superior Court Judge George L. Wood.

Alex Stalker, the Clallam Public Defender attorney representing Backman, immediately filed notice to appeal the judgment and sentence in the state Division II Court of Appeals, according to Superior Court records.

A jury convicted Backman March 6 of one count each of second-degree aggravated assault and witness tampering in connection with the May 13 incident.

The witness-tampering charge stemmed from Backman telling a woman with him that day to lie about what happened.

Court documents give this account:

Port Angeles Police Officer Bruce Fernie responded to a report of possible drug activity on East Second Street on May 13.

At about 6:40 p.m., Fernie approached a white truck driven by Backman and signaled the vehicle to stop.

Backman quickly accelerated, causing Fernie to run and then push off the truck as it passed to avoid being run over.

Backman wrote a letter from jail to the woman in the truck with him that day telling her what to testify to, and that she should “remember” a statement differently than what she told police.

The woman said Backman had instructed her to say that Fernie was farther away from the truck than she initially had told police and asked her to say Backman drove “slowly” past the officer.

Backman also told the woman to say Fernie hit the truck with his hand twice while saying “stop,” which she said she did not remember happening, and that Backman had the hood of his dark brown sweatshirt up the whole time, which the woman said he did not.

Officers got a tip from North Olympic Crime Stoppers May 25 that Backman was at an apartment on Pine Street, Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said, and arrested Backman in the 1100 block of West 15th Street on their way to the Pine Street address.

Between 1990 and 2005, Backman had convictions including robbery, residential burglary, arson, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a controlled substance, according to Superior Court records.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 26. 2014 6:52PM
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