A Fern Hill man was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on Thursday for attempting to murder a Westport woman in her house with a chainsaw.

Loren Shaun Knapp, 57, was charged with attempted murder, attempted first-degree assault, first-degree burglary and other charges related to the attack last May.

Earlier this month, Knapp pleaded no contest to attempted murder, and, in exchange, had the rest of his charges dismissed.

Knapp apparently drove to the Westport home in search of a man who he believed stole his rifle, Deputy District Attorney Beau Peterson said. He entered the home and began chasing the woman inside with the chainsaw.

The woman, who spoke during the sentencing hearing, said she had never met Knapp before in her life. She remembers Knapp calmly telling her he was going to kill her, and feeling petrified as he sawed through the bedroom door she was standing against.

“I could feel my hair blowing,” the woman said. “I was just frozen ... I don’t know why, but I couldn’t move.”

When Knapp’s chainsaw got stuck in a jacket hanging off the door, the woman had a chance to escape, she said.

He left the house and began confronting the man outside before deciding to leave, Peterson said during the hearing. Sheriff’s deputies arrested Knapp near the home shortly after.

Almost a year later, the woman still feels fear and confusion. The attack feels surreal, she said, as if it were a scene out of a horror film.

“Displaced anger is one thing, but to plan to carry a chainsaw down and attack somebody that’s not even the person they’re angry at ... I mean, I don’t even know this man,” she said.

Knapp confirmed she was not who he was originally looking for, but chose not to say anything else at the hearing.

Attempted murder is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 1/2 years in prison.

Knapp also was sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday for an unrelated crime, where he cut down more than $5,000 worth of trees on state land with a chainsaw.

“I hope you feel some shame, I hope you feel some regret, and I hope you feel some sorrow ... and I’m not sure if you do or not,” said visiting Judge Ronald Stone. “But the reason I went along with this ... is you’re accepting responsibility for this, and that means something to me, rather than put her through a four or five day trial.”

Knapp has been arrested in Clatsop County more than 25 times, including for charges of burglary, criminal mischief, menacing, assault, animal abuse and stalking.

Brenna Visser is a reporter for the Cannon Beach Gazette, Seaside Signal and The Daily Astorian. Contact her at 971-320-4558 or bvisser@dailyastorian.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.