Man Who Shot Ala. Pipeline Gets 16 Years
The Associated Press
7 June 2003

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A man who shot a hole through the trans- Alaska oil pipeline, causing it to leak more than 285,000 gallons of oil into the wilderness, was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison on state charges.

Daniel Lewis was convicted of oil pollution and criminal mischief in December. Cleaning up the Oct. 4, 2001 spill cost more than $13 million.

"Mr. Lewis didn't pick some little pipe somewhere. He picked the main trans-Alaska pipeline," Judge Jane Kauvar said. "He shot at this pipeline because he knew this was the pipeline that would get the most attention."

Lewis' older brother Randy testified during the trial he saw Lewis shoot at the pipeline while they were riding on the pipeline access road near the family's homestead in Livengood, about 50 miles north of Fairbanks.

Randy Lewis said his brother pointed the gun at him before firing the shot that penetrated the pipeline, which is lined with a half-inch of steel and nearly four inches of insulation.

Lewis, 39, also was convicted of weapons misconduct, third- degree assault and driving while intoxicated.

His sentence includes 480 days of revoked suspended time from prior DUI convictions.

"The only thing I would like to say is I am not guilty of these charges," he said after the sentencing. Lewis has blamed his brother for the shooting.

Prosecutor Kevin Burke argued that Lewis had little potential for rehabilitation. With 13 felonies and 32 misdemeanors on his record, Lewis has had been given plenty of chances to reform, Burke said.

"He has squandered and rejected all of those chances," he said.

In March 2002, a federal jury found Lewis guilty of a firearms charge for possessing the rifle linked to the pipeline shooting. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison in that case.

Copyright AP

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