All Tricia and Bill Lammers wanted was to get their son, Blaec, help to deal with his mental illness. Tricia went so far as to call police in 2012 and tell them her son had just purchased an AR-15 and another semi-automatic weapon.
It was Blaec who told police that he was thinking about shooting up a movie theater showing a “Twilight” film detailing the forbidden love of a teenage girl for a vampire in a universe where werewolves also roam free. Blaec never carried out any attack, police said.
On Thursday, Blaec Lammers, of Bolivar, Mo., was sentenced to 15 years in prison for hoarding weapons and 400 rounds of ammunition that he was considering using in an attack on a movie theater or on a Wal-mart. He was convicted in January of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Even though he never physically brought a weapon into either public place, Missouri law allows for the charges because he was gathering resources.
His mother, Tricia Lammers, had turned him in to authorities hoping he would get mental health treatment. Polk County Judge William J. Roberts didn’t order that kind of help, although he noted that Blaec Lammers had been hospitalized seven times for psychiatric problems and diagnosed with a personality disorder.
“Does that justify that we send him to prison because he is a little bit different?” Tricia Lammers angrily asked reporters after Polk County Judge William J. Roberts handed down the sentence. “I don’t think it means we send him away because he’s different. I think it means we find him help.”
Tricia Lammers and her husband, Bill, have said they struggled for years to find care for their son.
“What we originally wanted was for Blaec to get some help. This is sending the message to everyone that if you go to the police thinking they are going to help your son, they’re going to send him to prison,” Bill Lammers has said, according to media reports from the scene.
About four months before Blaec Lammers was arrested, a stunned nation had to deal with the mass shooting inside of a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during a midnight screening of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” A gunman dressed in tactical clothing fired into the audience, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The sole suspect, James Eagan Holmes, was arrested outside the cinema minutes later. He has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.
“This isn’t about Colorado,” Roberts said at the sentencing. “This isn’t about Newtown, Conn., or all those other places horrible things have occurred,” he said referring to the massacre at a Connecticut school where 20 children and six educators died at the hands of a gunman who then killed himself. Earlier, the 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, had started his spree by killing his mother.
Kenneth Ashlock, the Polk County prosecuting attorney, said Blaec Lammers is a danger to society and asked for a sentence of 15 years, according to media reports. “There’s no reason that people in Bolivar or people anywhere should be afraid,” Ashlock said.
Lammers’ attorney, Don Cooley, said he plans to appeal the sentence.
In November 2012, Lammers’ mother called police to say her son had bought weapons similar to those used in Colorado.
When Lammers was brought in, police said he told them he bought two assault rifles and 400 rounds of ammunition and planned a mass shooting at a movie theater in Bolivar, a city of slightly more than 10,000, some 30 miles north of Springfield.
Lammers also told police he was worried about running out of ammunition and planned to go to a Wal-mart, where he could get ammunition and shoot people there, police said.
Lammers has been held without bond since his arrest.
His mother said she was angry by how her son had been treated.
“You can’t even have a thought of ever wanting to hurt anyone because they are going to send you away to prison,” Tricia Lammers was quoted as saying by Missouri TV station KOLR after the judge handed down the sentence.