Idaho Shooter Faces Long Prison Term for Terrorism

By Tom Bacon

An Idaho man, who fired an assault rifle at the White House in 2011, is having second thoughts about his guilty plea. Oscar Romero Ortega-Hernandez faces a long stretch in federal prison when he's sentenced next month - more than 27 years.

That's because last fall he pleaded guilty to firing at least eight rounds at the White House and his plea carried a "terrorism enhancement" which leads to much heavier punishment. Now, Ortega-Hernandez and his lawyers are scrambling to undo the terrorism count. He argues it's manifestly unconstitutional, charging that the government is trying to usurp the prerogatives of the federal courts.

His lawyers also argued it's unfair, since in another case, a man who rigged his Jeep to crash into a White House guard house got only three years in prison. But the federal prosecutor in Ortega-Hernandez's case said - quoting - firing an assault rifle at the White House to make a political statement is terrorism, plain and simple.
The Idaho Falls man, who's in his 20s, reportedly suffered from mental problems. He told friends before shooting at the White House that President OBama was the Anti-Christ and the devil, and that he needed to kill the president. But his lawyer brushed that aside as just loose talk. Nobody was hurt in the gunfire in November 2011, but several bullets pockmarked the presidential house.

Ortega-Hernandez is to be sentenced on March 19th.
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