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August 4, 2021

Man sentenced to 15 years for shooting at vehicles

Charles Lafferty was arrested in January 2020

Charles Kenneth Lafferty, the man who pleaded guilty to shooting marbles at dozens of motorists on Highways 156 and 101 for more than a year, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on June 29, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced.

In April, Lafferty, 54, pleaded guilty to 28 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer.

Lafferty had originally been charged with 63 felony counts in relation to at least that many incidents in which he reportedly used a slingshot to shoot marbles at vehicles traveling through San Benito County and Prunedale. Most of the listed charges were for assault with a deadly weapon, and most were related to incidents in Monterey County. Three of the original charges were for incidents in San Benito County.

Charles Lafferty

For nearly a year starting in February 2019, Lafferty terrorized motorists along Highways 156 and 101 by shooting marbles at cars traveling through the busy corridor, according to authorities. Investigators from the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies determined that more than 70 vehicles had been struck with projectiles along the same stretch of roadways from February 2019 until just before Lafferty’s January 2020 arrest.

Lafferty was arrested in Nipomo after investigators with the CHP and Monterey County Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at residences in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties, according to authorities. A key break in the case came when investigators determined a GMC pickup truck involved in the attacks was connected to Lafferty.

After Lafferty’s arrest, he admitted to repeatedly shooting marbles at traffic using a slingshot, but he never provided an exact number of times he did so, according to Pacioni, and he did not disclose a motive for his actions. Police seized a slingshot, a slingshot replacement band, and 55 marbles from Lafferty’s vehicle the day he was arrested. 

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