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Insanity plea for man who shot at brother's vehicle

A man who fired a rifle round at his brother's truck in April was sentenced Wednesday to be institutionalized.

After Gary Wayne Rodgers, 68, of the 300 block of Fir Avenue, Butte Falls, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempted first-degree assault with a firearm, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge David Hoppe found him guilty but insane and sentenced him to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Health Authority for up to 10 years, and he ordered that the Jackson County Sheriff's Department transport him to a state mental hospital.

On April 27, Rodgers shot his rifle at a pickup truck being driven by his brother, Billy Jess Rodgers, as he attempted to turn onto Fee Street from Cedar Street.

According to court documents, Billy Rodgers, who lived with his brother, told investigators he left for work at 4 a.m. that morning and reminded Gary Rodgers about a doctor's appointment at the V.A. Dom. When Billy Rodgers returned to pick up his wallet later that morning, Gary Rodgers was holding a rifle while sitting in a chair at the end of the driveway. As Billy Rodgers backed away, Gary Rodgers fired the weapon, and the bullet struck the frame between the rear door and rear window of the four-door pickup. No injuries were reported, but in the direct path of the bullet that was fired was a home where two residents were standing outside.

When sheriff's deputies arrived, Gary Rodgers walked out of the house and was taken into custody without incident. According to a court document, Gary Rodgers told a sheriff's captain he was mad at his brother because he claimed Billy had threatened to kill his girlfriend, who lives in Medford. Billy Rodgers told sheriff's deputies Gary Rodgers didn't have a girlfriend. Gary Rodgers also said that he was upset because Billy Rodgers had taken away two of his guns.

The court decision stemmed from a report by Dr. Jerry Larsen, who diagnosed Gary Rodgers with paranoid schizophrenia.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.