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Man sentenced for home invasion, assault

A would-be robber who "self-discharged" from the hospital after he was shot during a home invasion near Cave Junction was sentenced to nearly four years in prison Thursday, but not before some fireworks in court.

Linzin Rooni Eshalom, 33, of Peoria, Ariz., was sentenced in Josephine County Circuit Court to to 45 months in jail as part of a plea deal with prosecutors to charges of first-degree attempted assault, first-degree burglary and unlawful use of a weapon. A charge of attempted murder was dismissed.

According to court records and statements at the sentencing, on the night of April 19 Eshalom was part of a group that came to a home on Holland Loop Road with plans to rob the occupants. Two adult men, a 17-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were in the home at the time.

One of men in the house heard dogs barking and went outside, where he spotted three to four men in black. That man was pistol-whipped and shot in the chest, but survived. The 17-year-old boy, meanwhile, grabbed a .357 handgun and shot Eshalom three times and another robber twice.

Authorities said Eshalom "self-discharged" days later from Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass. The Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police said they didn't have enough manpower to keep a 24-hour guard on him. Eshalom was arrested in Arizona.

He appeared in court with medical hardware and a sling on his left arm.

In court, one of the victims objected to the lack of an attempted murder penalty for those who threatened the lives of his family, including Eshalom.

"God intervened with great timing," he said, but the men shouldn't be let off just because they failed in their attempt.

Prosecutor Matthew Corey agreed that Eshalom did, indeed, receive a light sentence, but said the plea deal comes with terms that will help the case overall.

Judge Thomas Hull warned Eshalom that he must abide by all the terms of the plea bargain — presumably including testifying in court — or risk losing the deal.

Another suspect in the case, Robbie Cruse, 32, of Grants Pass, was arrested Wednesday on multiple charges in connection with the home invasion, including attempted murder and first-degree robbery.

Eshalom looked down and away as a family member of a victim addressed him in court.

"We do not believe that our family is the only ones hurt by the choices you made that night," she said.

Another family member told him that his child is afraid to sleep in the house anymore.

Before being sentenced, Eshalom addressed the gathering of victims and their supporters.

"I know sorry doesn't mean anything to you guys," he said, adding that he had been told that no one would be home. "I have a family, too. This wouldn't have happened if I knew somebody was home. I'm sorry."

His words angered a victim, who told the judge that Eshalom perjured himself with the claim that he didn't know they'd be home.

"These guys brought zip ties," he said. "They knew we were going to be home."

Hull told the victim he'd already had a chance to speak, but the man continued to object that the sentence was too light. As the confrontation continued, deputies escorted him from the courtroom.

"See you in 40 months, bro," he said to Eshalom as he left the room.

After the sentencing, the prosecutor said that some of those associated with the crime are still at large, but they are not believed to be in this area.

Reach reporter Patricia Snyder at 541-474-3806 or psnyder@thedailycourier.com

Linzin Rooni Eshalom