Monday, October 03, 2022

Man sentenced in assault, grand theft cases

Staff Writer | October 19, 2021 1:00 AM

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SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man will serve a minimum of five years in prison on charges of aggravated assault for firing into an occupied vehicle, and multiple counts of grand theft. Other charges against Gervasi include aggravated assault, grand theft by disposing of stolen property, possessing a weapon as a convicted felon, and possession of a controlled substance.

Joshua Christopher Gervasi, 28, appeared Monday for sentencing before First District Judge Barbara Buchanan for two different cases from 2019. Altogether, Gervasi originally faced 17 charges, five for grand theft, three for possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, three for firing at an occupied vehicle, three for grand theft by receiving stolen property, two for aggravated assault, and a count of persistent violation.

“It’s true, Mr. Gervasi does have a name here. But that makes it all the more important that we give him the chance to rise above his family history, and to give him the chance to make something of himself and be present in his son’s life,” Suzie Jensen, one of Gervasi’s public defenders, said.

The defense asked the court to retain jurisdiction in the case, and give Gervasi credit for time spent, as well as running Gervasi’s sentences concurrently.

“Ultimately we want him to get treatment,” said Catherine Enright, Gervasi’s other public defender. “I don’t think simply putting him in prison is going to ultimately change anything about Mr. Gervasi’s life.”

Prosecutor Katie Sherritt asked the court to give Gervasi consecutive sentences totaling 10 years in prison. She argued that Gervasi is a drain on community resources, and that he hasn’t complied with past court mandated treatments.

“He’s dangerous. He steals. He has no regard for other people's safety or their property,” Sherritt said. “These are very different crimes. With very different victims. And I think deserves separate consequences.”

Sherritt said that federal marshals spent over $30,000 and 240 over-time hours in efforts to detain Gervasi.

Gervasi had one remark for the court, saying “I have a drug problem, that’s it.”

“Unfortunately, I agree with you, that you certainly have a serious drug problem,” said Buchanan. “I’ve sentenced your mom, your dad, and your brothers.”

“I can’t tell you how many search warrants and phone taps I signed to try and find you.” Buchanan continued. “There was a huge concern that someone was going to be hurt or killed.”

For the May 2019 case of grand theft, Gervasi was sentenced to 3-5 years in prison with 162 days credit. In the later September 2019 case for aggravated assault, Gervasi gained an additional 2-5 years, which will be served consecutively.

Sentencing was originally supposed to take place in November 2019, but Gervasi missed his pre-trial conference and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Eighteen days later he was apprehended in Montana. Sentencing was rescheduled for May 2020. In that time, he was released on his own recognizance. Gervasi missed his sentencing for the second time, and remained wanted on a bench warrant for over a year until September 2021.

Gervasi was arrested on June 16, 2021, in Boundary County. He acquired nine new charges when his stolen truck was seized after he fled into the woods on foot. He led U.S. Marshals on a vehicle pursuit beginning in Bonner County, eventually evading the marshals. The vehicle was found with over a pound of methamphetamine, over an ounce of heroin, LSD, DMT, Marijuana, two firearms, over $4,000 in construction tools, five cellphones, and paperwork for his previous court cases out of Bonner County. That case was dismissed without prejudice in First District Magistrate Court on Oct. 15 by Judge Kent Merica.

Gervasi’s charges stem from May 2019 when Bonner County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Jinright found multiple stolen vehicles on Gervasi’s property. Law enforcement were trying to locate a Ditch Witch valued at $60,000 that Gervasi had allegedly stolen along with the trailer the equipment was permanently attached to. Deputy Jinright was able to locate the trailer, but not the equipment that went with it. The discovery of the trailer served as probable cause for Jinright to search Gervasi’s property, where over four stolen vehicles, and a presumed stolen motorcycle were found.

In September 2019, aggravated assault charges were brought against Gervasi for an incident where he fired three shots into a running occupied vehicle. According to statements by the two witnesses inside the vehicle, Gervasi demanded the male witness get out of the car. When they didn’t comply, Gervasi told them he had a handgun tucked into the waistband of his pants.

The situation escalated when Gervasi allegedly took turns pointing the gun at both occupants before firing three rounds into the hood of the vehicle. When Gervasi began walking toward the passenger side, the two sped off and Gervasi followed them in his truck. Fearful that the vehicle wouldn’t be able to withstand the pursuit, the driver quickly pulled off to the side of the road and Gervasi passed them.

Gervasi has 30 previous cases in the Idaho court system beginning with infractions when he was only 9 years old. He is detained at the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office and will appear for a preliminary hearing in First District Magistrate Court in front of Judge Justin Julian on Oct. 27 for May 2020 charges of grand theft, eluding law enforcement, and persistent violation.

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