A Washington man faced with a lengthy prison sentence received leniency due to the unique circumstances of the case.
On July 7, 2020, Peter Schoneman stole a vehicle and unlawfully entered a residence as he led police on a night time chase in the DeSmet area. While in custody he proceeded to damage jail property after he pried open a vent in his holding cell.
As a result of his actions Mr. Schoneman was facing a potential 15-year prison sentence. Instead he received 90 days in jail with credit for 94 days of time served, two years of supervised probation and restitution for damages to the jail.
Mr. Schoneman’s defense sought leniency on the basis that he was medically determined to be in a fugue-like state possibly spurred by the anniversary of his wife’s death, July 5, 2016, and complications of depression medications.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica a fugue state is a rare condition in which an individual wanders from their usual surroundings in a state of amnesia and may change their behavior to the extent of adopting a completely new identity. Fugue states are known to last from hours to weeks. The encyclopedia references one case which lasted two months. Depression and trauma are factors that may trigger a fugue state.
Mr. Schoneman’s wife died suddenly when she took a bite of a doughnut fried in peanut oil that triggered a fatal allergic reaction.
During the sentencing trial, Oct. 9, 2020, Mr. Schoneman expressed his remorse and said he would seek help.
“I am going to follow through with the doctor and seek grief counseling and see about an alternative medication...I was not prepared for my wife to die…I just lost her way too soon...This is not my behavior...I would like to apologize to the state of Idaho,” Mr. Schoneman said.