ABOVE: The Lord works in mysterious ways
A McKinleyville man sentenced to 22 years in prison for attempted murder says God must have stopped the gun from firing when he attempted to shoot a store clerk during a foiled robbery in March 2016.
“I do not resent the length of my sentence,” said Aaron Christopher King, reading from a statement after Judge John Feeney passed sentence this morning. “I can only feel blessed that gun never fired, because to be honest I don’t know why it didn’t. I can only attribute it to some divine intervention.
“If that gun would have gone off someone would have died,” he said. “Jangua (the clerk) would have lost his life, his family would have lost a father and I would have spent the rest of my life in prison, living with the weight of the murder of an innocent man on my shoulders. So I thank God that the gun didn’t fire and I thank God that those people intervened.”
King, now 27, walked into a liquor store on Fifth Street in Eureka, carrying a loaded gun he had stolen from a house earlier that day. He took aim at clerk Balwinder Singh Janjua and pulled the trigger repeatedly. When the gun didn’t fire, Janjua hit King with the cash register. Then other customers arrived and wrestled King to the floor. The incident was caught on the store’s video camera.
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King pleaded guilty earlier this year to attempted murder, attempted robbery, burglary and firearms allegations. This morning Judge John Feeney sentenced him to nine years for attempted second-degree murder, 10 years for personal use of a firearm, 8 months for attempted second-degree robbery, one year for use of a firearm during that crime, and 1 year and four months for first-degree residential burglary.
King, now clean-shaven and with his blond hair in a crewcut, agreed through his attorney David Celli to provide The Outpost with a copy of his hand-written statement. In it he expresses his remorse and his determination to change.
“I intend to spend every day that I am incarcerated educating myself so that I can learn to be a better person. I will not let my life go to waste; I will not let this poor choice define me.”
He said he intends to make amends for his past “as best as I can and move forward with a new resolution: to become a contributing member of society and to reach out to people who struggle with addiction so that they do not make the same choices I did.”
King has been in Humboldt County Correctional for more than two years, and he said it took him that long to stop blaming other people and accept responsibility. Initially, he said, he was “incredulous and angry” that he was charged with attempted murder when the gun never fired. He believed he was guilty only of robbing the store. He also blamed his probation officer for not getting him into a residential drug-treatment program, and his friends for not providing him with enough support.
Now he realizes, King said, that “when I picked up a gun I made a choice.”
Feeney, after listening to King, said “Thank you for such a thoughtful and articulate statement.”
King was given credit for 818 days served, plus an additional 15 percent of 122 days, for a total of 940 days.
Deputy District Attorney Whitney Barnes was in court this morning for the prosecution.