Idaho Machete Attack: Veteran's Military Service Used By Prosecutor In Attempt To Garner Longer Prison Term

Thomas Twain, an Idaho man with a machete, kicked down the door of home of Kaila Gearhart and James Cvengros and attempted to attack the couple. Upon hearing the shocking sounds of the door coming off its hinges, Cvengros ran the front room, screamed at Twain to leave, and ultimately shot the intruder.

The Idaho machete attacker survived the gunshot wound, and faces up to 15 years in prison for the home invasion. Idaho prosecutors claimed that Thomas Twain's years of military service meant that he was a danger to the public.

The 54-year-old man from Potacello, Idaho, was captured on video when he kicked down the door carrying a machete. In February 2013, the police were called to the 200 block of South Garfield Street. The 911 caller said that a man with a machete was threatening residents and had entered an apartment complex.

Late last week, Thomas Twain was given a "fixed" five-year prison sentence and a 10-year "indeterminate" sentence on aggravated assault and attempted murder charges.

James Cvengros thought to press record on a nearby digital camera when he heard the commotion outside in the apartment complex. He reportedly saw glass flying from an upstairs apartment onto cars in the parking lot. Both Cvengros and Gearhart yelled at the man with the machete, urging him to leave their home immediately. The Twain shooting was ruled self-defense, and Cvengros faces no charges.

Thomas Twain - Idaho machete attack.

"If he hadn't been shot at that time, we would be looking at a murder case, not an attempted murder case," Cvengros told Local 8 News.

Neuro-Psychologist Mark Corgiat maintains that Thomas Twain suffers from frontal lobe damage from a vehicle accident and PTSD.

"His fight or flight is constantly in overdrive," Corgit added.

The defense attorney for the machete attacker says that his client was not aware of what he was doing, when he kicked down the door of the Idaho home. Attorney Dave Martinez further contends that Thomas Twain "finally snapped out of it" when he was shot.

"I have never had anything like this happen before in my life," Twain said during court proceedings.

In addition to the potential 15 years behind bars, the Idaho machete attack also prompted the judge to issue a no-contact order with the victims, and ordered Thomas to pay a $1,200 fine. Citing Thomas' military experience and the violent nature of the Idaho machete attack, the prosecutor asked for a seven-year fixed prison sentence, saying the accused posed a threat to the safety of society.

What do you think about the Idaho machete attack and the PTSD veteran's military history being used as an argument for a stronger prison sentence?

[Images via: and screengrab]