Man sentenced to 45 years in killing of WSP Justin Schaffer

Jul 7, 2022, 6:12 AM | Updated: 9:31 am
Trooper Justin Schaffer. (Washington State Patrol)...
Trooper Justin Schaffer. (Washington State Patrol)
(Washington State Patrol)

A judge has sentenced a man to 45 years in prison for hitting and killing a state trooper with his car as he was placing spike strips on I-5.

In March 2020 Thurston County deputies were chasing William Thompson down I-5 following a robbery at a convenience store. 41-year-old Thompson was accused of trying to run over the store clerk.

During the chase, Washington State Trooper Justin Schaffer deployed a spike strip to stop Thompson. Instead, he swerved around the strip, running Schaffer over. Schaffer was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries.

In addition to the murder charge for Schaffer’s death, Thompson faced an attempted murder charge for trying to hit another state trooper, Michael Farkas.

State trooper struck, killed on I-5 in Chehalis

Thompson received 26 and a half years for the murder charge, and 18 and a half years for the attempted murder charge, totaling 540 months, or 45 years.

The trooper’s family agreed to the length of the sentence, to spare other troopers and witnesses from having to testify, according to court documents.

They also have requested a no-contact order from Thompson for the rest of his life.

Thompson entered an Alford plea, which allowed him to a plea bargain without admitting guilt. Alford pleas happen when the accused admits that a prosecutor has enough evidence to convince a judge and jury of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but they publicly maintain their innocence.

Schaffer was 28 when he died, leaving behind a family and his wife.

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Man sentenced to 45 years in killing of WSP Justin Schaffer