A transient who was previously convicted of manslaughter in Colorado was sentenced last week to two concurrent terms of up to five years in state prison for felony assault- and weapons-related charges.
Seventh District Judge Lyle R. Anderson ordered Samson Lameman to serve up to 10 years behind bars, although he noted that the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole will determine the actual length of the sentence.
“It looks to me like from the matrix that they’re probably going to keep you between one-and-a-half and two years,” the judge said during Lameman’s sentencing on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
Lameman, whose aliases include Samuel Leroy Layman, was arrested on April 15 after he threatened two men with knives during a drunken confrontation along the Mill Creek Pathway. Dispatchers who conducted a criminal history background search on him learned that he had been convicted in Colorado of manslaughter.
Lameman initially pleaded not guilty to two third-degree felony charges of aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, among other offenses. However, just days before he was scheduled to appear at a jury trial, the defendant changed his plea after one of the assault charges was dismissed; he also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of intoxication and providing false information to a police officer.
In brief remarks to the court on Oct. 10, Lameman apologized for his actions.
“I’m just sorry that everything came to a head,” he said. “It was all due to alcohol and drinking. If none of us were drinking that day, actually, none of this would ever be in the record right about now.”
Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald alluded to Lameman’s past record, which includes convictions for involuntary manslaughter and assault involving domestic violence. During the most recent April 15 incident, he said, Lameman fought with the arresting officer.
“(He) kind of has a large criminal history,” Fitzgerald said. “It looks like he did some federal time, as well.”
Lameman, who had most recently been living in the town of Green River, has no real contacts in Moab, Fitzgerald said, and the defendant has been in and out of other communities in recent years.
“So I think (Adult Probation and Parole officers) see him as a long-term problem for the community, considering the charges he had and his history,” Fitzgerald said.
Defense attorney Steve Russell did not dispute Fitzgerald’s statements to the court, although he maintained that his client felt threatened at the time of the assault.
“All that is true, judge, with the caveat that when this incident occurred, Mr. Lameman was more or less surrounded by three or four other individuals that were menacing him, and he felt that he was in danger,” Russell said. “But because of his status (as a restricted person), he shouldn’t have had the knives.”
According to a police report on the incident, officers arrested Lameman after someone reported that three or four men were “cussing and being loud” along the Mill Creek pathway.
The reporting party said that Lameman was carrying an ax. As an officer was searching the area, another person reported that five men were fighting over the colors they were wearing, and that one of the men – later identified as Lameman – was brandishing a machete.
By the time that the first officer arrived at the scene, other men had circled around Lameman, and he appeared to be acting aggressively. The officer noticed another man walk over to a tree and break off a branch to use as a weapon.
As the officer approached the men, the man dropped the branch, and Lameman began to walk away. Another officer approached from the north and told Lameman to stop, but he continued onward. Lameman resisted, and the first officer helped the second officer place him in handcuffs, at which time, they noticed that he smelled of alcohol.
The man who picked up the branch said that he had never met Lameman before that day. He said that he and another man had been walking home along the footpath when Lameman approached them, and then fell down.
When Lameman got back up, he pulled two large knives from his backpack and began to swing the weapons at the two men. The man with the branch said he thought that Lameman was trying to stab him, so he picked up the branch for protection.
During an inventory of Lameman’s backpack, officers found an approximately 16-inch blade and an approximately 6-inch blade that had blood on the handle, as well as drug paraphernalia.
Lameman later admitted that he gave police false information about his identity, and court documents and past media reports also provide conflicting information about his correct date of birth: It’s listed alternately as Nov. 14, 1975, and Nov. 14, 1978.
Violent altercations in Colorado
Prosecutors previously charged Lameman with second-degree murder in connection with the May 2006 shooting death of 26-year-old Tasha Posey at the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation near Cortez, Colorado. In that incident, Posey died after she was shot during a struggle for the gun that she and Lameman were using to play a game of Russian roulette.
A federal jury in Durango, Colorado, subsequently found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Yet while he was on probation in that case, the Durango Herald reported that Lameman pleaded guilty in federal court to misdemeanor assault involving domestic violence.
In that incident, the Herald reported, Lameman grabbed a woman by the left arm, bent it behind her and shoved her onto a bed, holding her facedown in a pillow so she couldn’t breathe.
“He then put his fingers in her mouth and hooked the right side of her mouth and tried to rip it off. The woman then bit his fingers so he would let go, at which time (Lameman) punched her on the left side of her face with a closed fist,” the Herald reported.
Lameman’s run-ins with the law continued until his most recent arrest in Moab.
In 2015 and 2016, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado arrested him on warrants for felony menacing and failure to appear in court.
Fitzgerald told the court that Lameman has been under supervision in Colorado, but he said that his office hasn’t been in contact with authorities there, and it doesn’t know his current status in that state. But the county attorney ultimately supported a concurrent prison sentence for the two felony convictions, instead of consecutive sentences.
Russell told the court that his client has no job, no income and no stable residence, and he suggested that Lameman might be better off in the Grand County Jail.
“Incarceration may be the best option for him at this point,” Russell said. “And apparently, he likes the new jail well enough that he wanted me to ask (that) instead of prison, that he be allowed to serve a year here in the county.”
Instead of following that request, though, Judge Anderson remanded Lameman to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections for transportation to the Central Utah Corrections Facility in Gunnison. He also ordered Lameman to serve 180 concurrent days in jail for the misdemeanor offenses; Lameman received credit for 97 days served.
Samson Lameman blames alcohol for actions