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Newspaper carriers' assailant gets prison time

A Rogue River man was sentenced to a decade in prison after admitting he shot at a pair of newspapers carriers because of a meth-fueled paranoid delusion.

Shad Gary Dunbar, 35, pleaded guilty Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court to charges stemming from shooting attacks at Linda Parker and Roger Price, who were delivering newspapers just before 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5. 

Dunbar, who was a stranger to the couple, shot at them in three attempts and three locations as Parker and Price tried to flee him in their Saturn sedan. After the first attempt, Dunbar chased after the couple in his father's Ford Mustang, before shooting at the couple. When they tried to turn into a gas station on East Main Street to call for help, Dunbar pulled up beside them, shot at point-blank range and blasted through two of the sedan's back seat windows.

Police said two of the shots fired by Dunbar during the incident struck nearby houses.

"We were doing our jobs," Price said, adding that one of Dunbar's shots flew 3 inches from his head. "This man is sick."

Parker sat next to Price at the hearing, but was too emotional to speak.

Clayton Tullos, Dunbar's court-appointed defense lawyer, said his client had suffered a paranoid delusion caused by a meth bender when the newspaper carriers drove past his home in the 300 block of Seventh Street in Rogue River. Tullos told the court they had considered an insanity plea before accepting prosecutors' plea agreement.

"It was at least a seven-day meth bender," Tullos said. "He was under the belief at the time the victims had kidnapped his father and he was trying to get his father back."

Dunbar fled the scene after the gas station attack, and was found two days later in the attic of a Medford home on Roberts Road,  which he refused to leave before being subdued by police with the aid of a police dog.

"I'm sorry," Dunbar said facing the couple after entering his pleas in his orange jail uniform. "I'm not a bad person, I just look that way."

Circuit Court Judge Mejia told Dunbar he's lucky no one was hurt because of his delusions. Mejia said he's seen other cases involving meth psychoses, and that people in the midst of psychosis usually imagine they are in the midst of life-and-death situations — causing them to act out in dangerous ways.

"No one thinks it's, like, pink ponies eating their lawn," Mejia said.

Dunbar was sentenced to 120 months in the Oregon Department of Corrections followed by 3 years' post-prison supervision after entering guilty pleas on four felony counts of attempted murder and a felony count of felon in possession of a firearm. He was ordered to pay restitution estimated at $215 for the car's windows.

Dunbar has no prior felony convictions in Oregon, but had been convicted in 2012 of felony vehicle theft in San Luis Obispo, Calif. 

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat. Reporter Vickie Aldous contributed to this story.

Shad Dunbar