The former Fort Lewis-based Ranger already serving 24 years for a takeover-style robbery of a Tacoma bank has been sentenced to another 20 years in a federal lockup for trying to hire a hit man to kill an assistant U.S. attorney.
Luke Elliott Sommer, 23, also shanked a co-defendent at the Federal Detention Center in SeaTac. But, he told the judge, it was all to build some prison cred.
According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, Sommer pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and solicitation of a crime of violence. The British Columbia native is now sentenced to 44 years in prison.
Twice in March 2009 Sommer offered as much as $20,000 to an undercover FBI agent posing as a hit man. “Law enforcement was alerted to Sommer’s interest in hiring a hit man in January 2009, barely a month after Sommer was sentenced,” the press release read. “Sommer moved forward with the plot in March 2009, when he tried to hire the undercover officer telling him he wanted news reports of the hit to reflect that it was ‘murder not an accident.'”
But wait. There’s more:
“Additionally, on January 23, 2009, Sommer used a prison-made knife to attack a co-defendant in the bank robbery case,” the release reads. “The two men were to be housed separately at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, but Sommer schemed to get to the other man’s prison unit with the weapon. Sommer attacked the other inmate, fighting until the two were pulled apart by staff. Sommer continued to yell and threaten the safety of the victim. Although the victim suffered a minor stab wound and multiple abrasions, neither man had to be hospitalized.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney told the court Sommer is “a very dangerous person who needs to be locked up for a very long time,” according to the Seattle Times.
Also from the Times story:
The additional two decades in prison are all because “he wanted to be known in the system as a big shot, someone not to be messed with,” Gruber said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Dion — the target of Sommer’s planned hit — seemed baffled and saddened by it all.
“The strange thing is that [Sommer] made a self-conscious decision to become a bad person,” said Dion, who addressed the court as a victim and not a prosecutor. “It’s sad. … He’s become a nihilist where nothing matters. He’s created a nightmare world for himself, and now he has to live in it.”
Sommer, in his statement to the court, admitted “the fact that I’m screwed.” He also claimed the knife attack was intentionally superficial and his effort to hire a hit man was aimed to improve his reputation, according to the Times.
Just remember: This is the guy who told Army Times how he and others planned and executed the robbery.