About 25 people gathered at the Mason County Courthouse yesterday afternoon to protest the court’s perceived leniency against repeat offenders, especially of drug-related crimes.
Signs included, “No plea deals for repeat offenders,” “Correct injustice” and “Time for change — Save our children — Justice now!”
Protester Karen Wheatley said it’s time for the court to look at things differently.
“This county in particular has seemed to be very pro-offender,” Wheatley said. “I’m not saying empathizing is a bad thing, but it is when you know that’s a community risk.”
Many of the protesters singled out a woman named Sheena Skoog, who was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months to 20 years in prison for possession of methamphetamines and being a four-time habitual offender.
Wheatley said Skoog "has been known to swoop in and destroy lives."
“(We’re here to) get trash like her off of the streets of Mason County and keep our community safe,” Wheatley said.
While Skoog’s name stood out on the protesters’ signs, some who spoke with the Daily News were careful to emphasize that she was not the sole focus of their demonstration.
“I’m just tired of drugs, is all,” said protester Jack Shoop. “It’s stupid, and it costs so much.”
In June, protesters raised similar concerns in front of the courthouse for multiple consecutive days.
At issue was a $7,500, 10 percent deposit bond for Isaiah Gardenhire, who was charged with criminal sexual conduct after racking up an extensive criminal history over several years. Gardenhire only needed to pay or have a bondsman pay $750 for his release from the Mason County Jail.
After his release, Gardenhire is alleged to have embarked on a crime spree, including a sexual assault and three murders, elsewhere in the state. Protesters said a higher bond, or none at all, would have prevented the alleged crimes.