A Newhall man accused of threatening to torture family members with a machete before driving the family pickup truck off the side of a cliff and 500 feet down an embankment – with family members on board – was sentenced Wednesday to a prison term for kidnapping and attempted murder.
Sean McClelland, 46, was sentenced to sentenced to 13 years and eight months in state prison for purposely driving a pickup truck off a cliff with his 68-year-old father aboard, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Deputy District Attorney Emily Cole said Sean McClelland was sentenced Wednesday immediately after pleading no contest to one felony count each of kidnapping and attempted murder.
McClelland, whose mental competency was called into question by lawyers last year, appeared in San Fernando Superior Court on Wednesday, when he was found guilty.
“He was convicted today of one count of kidnapping and one count of premeditated attempted murder,” Paul Eakins said citing court records.
A second charge of kidnapping initially filed against him “was dismissed” Wednesday, Eakins said. Three other counts filed against McClelland were also dismissed – two counts of criminal threats and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.
McClelland is scheduled to appear back in court Feb. 1 for sentencing.
McClelland was arrested July 4, 2016, on suspicion of kidnapping and assault after he allegedly threatened to take family members who were allegedly with him at the time into the mountain to torture them.
He then drove a family pickup truck off the side of a cliff – more than 500 feet down an embankment with his father in the truck.
For more than an hour prior to his arrest, McClelland eluded firefighters in the steep hillside brush south of Templin Highway off the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, near the freeway’s upper crossover after the pickup truck he was in crashed, officials said at the time.
McClelland, who was injured, was transported to a hospital via a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter.
A man, identified as his father, was also injured and taken to the hospital, Lt. Rob Hahnlein of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal at the time of McClelland’s arrest.
On Jan. 25, 2017, McClelland was first ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and return to court for a “1368 hearing” on Thursday with the findings.
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