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Francis Resident Sentenced For Drunkenly Firing Off Over A Dozen Shots Last December

A Francis resident who was arrested last December, after drunkenly spraying a residence with gunfire, narrowly missing two other occupants, has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

The sentence was handed down Monday in Third District Court to 57-year-old Randal Weed Dickinson.

Judge Patrick Corum sentenced Dickinson to one-to-15 years in prison on two counts of Aggravated Assault. He was also sentenced to 0 to 5 years for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon by a Restricted Person, given previous convictions on his record. The judge said those sentences would be concurrent.

Charging documents said that last December 9th, his roommate Mark Atkinson reported that Dickinson had been drinking all day, and drunkenly fell into a Christmas tree. Atkinson’s son helped the defendant to his room to sleep it off.

But shortly thereafter both men heard gunfire exploding around the house and took cover.

In court on Monday, Mark’s mother Ranae Atkinson gave a statement about what happened.

“He fired 16 rounds from a 9-millimeter gun at my son and my grandson,” Atkinson said. “He almost hit my son. One bullet went right back of his head. I feel real lucky that I was not burying both men.”

She said there was more than $20,000 in damages done to the house

“And it’s not a laughing matter,” Atkinson continued. “The next person he fires a gun at is probably going to be dead. And then it’s going to be a whole new issue. My son will never get over this. He can’t even talk about it without getting emotional over it. And he is 59 years old.”

She also asked why charges haven’t been brought against the person who passed on a gun to Dickinson, a convicted felon. She said she believes she knows who the person is and told KPCW she will ask the sheriff’s department to investigate. 

Dickinson’s defense attorney, David Shapiro, asked that his client get time in jail, not prison. He said that Dickinson’s actions were not malicious or intentional but are prompted by a severe alcohol problem.

Speaking to the court, Dickinson said he is extremely remorseful, and he thanks God every day that he didn’t hurt anyone.

“I have nothing but respect for Mark,” Dickinson explained. “He’s a good, kind-hearted and caring person, who I wish nothing but the best everything for in the future. I can only hope that he can see his way clear to forgive me for my actions.”

Dickinson, who has been in the county jail since last December, said he will pursue mental-health counseling and AA sessions.

“My family, friends and clients all agree I’m a great person, particularly when not drinking alcohol,” Dickinson continued. “I’m generally an honest, caring person, loyal to a fault, has the respect and understanding. I feel that I am not a violent person, y’know not a criminal. I just have a drinking problem.”

Judge Corum told Dickinson that, in his favor, he has been working to rehabilitate himself. But the judge said that the risks, given his history of violent criminal behavior, are just too great.

“I know there are a number of years that pass between incidents,” Corum said. “But your first aggravated assault was in 2007. I have no details about that, other than that you were sent to prison on what was essentially a first offense, which leads me to believe that that was a significant case. You served some amount of time in prison and then were successfully paroled, and stayed out of the criminal-justice system for a number of years—uh, and then re-entered in the last few with kind of a vengeance here. You got a DUI, which is concerning, obviously, and then you got another Aggravated Assault out of Wasatch County 2016. You got pled down to a Class A, but in that one, the allegation, what you admitted to is assaulting somebody with a club, being intoxicated.”

Judge Patrick Corum recommended that the defendant be given credit for the 278 days he’s already spent in the county jail.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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