Bank robber found guilty of hitting officer with car
Clint Pickering, 27, was sentenced Monday in Rockingham County Superior Court on eight charges, including second-degree assault.
Pickering was behind the wheel of his green Dodge Avenger on the afternoon of Sept. 18, 2009, when he struck Windham Police Officer Jason Dzierlatka and nearly hit two other Salem police officers who tried to stop the pursuit on Interstate 93.
Pickering is already serving an 11-1/2-year federal sentence for his role in the robbing the Bank of New England with his partner before fleeing from Windham police.
Prosecutors argued for a 17-1/2- to 35-year sentence on Monday.
"My biggest argument was public protection," Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton said.
Defense lawyer Neil Reardon told Judge N. William Delker that Pickering should only serve a concurrent prison sentence given that he is already serving a lengthy prison term related to the bank robbery.
Pickering's family members told the judge that he was a victim of the system and went unchecked by probation officials before his 2009 arrest.
Delker disagreed with that assessment and decided that Pickering's sentence on state charges would run consecutive to the federal one he is already serving.
Pickering apologized to Dzierlatka, the injured officer, during the sentencing hearing and told him he would trade places with him if he could.
Dzierlatka asked the judge to impose a serious sentence and spoke about the impact it had on his life in the last three years. The 35-year-old officer returned to work in May after undergoing eight surgeries on his left foot and ankle and 10 procedures to replace pieces of his ankle.
Pickering's partner, Patrick McKeen, is serving a 10½-year federal prison sentence for carrying out the robbery. He received a suspended 3½- to 7-year prison sentence on state charges that he hid some of the money on him before being apprehended.
Pickering was found not guilty of two counts of criminal threatening following his two-day trial.
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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.