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Breen Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A 28-year-old man who shot and seriously injured his friend with a Tec-9 assault pistol was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison.

James Breen, 28, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted in a June bench trial of attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury and carrying weapons for shooting Cory Forbes, 28, of Cedar Rapids, three times, which caused permanent nerve damage Nov. 18, 2012.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Ian Thornhill ran the three sentences concurrently. Breen will have to serve 17-1/2 years before being elgible for parole.

Breen declined to speak before sentencing but his attorney Victoria Cole said Breen was remorseful and didn't intend to shot Forbes that night or hurt anyone.

Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden asked the court to sentence Breen to 27 years because this was a crime of violence where an assault weapon was taken into a public place, a bar. He questioned whether Breen was remorseful about the shooting.

Vander Sanden also said there would be victim restitution in this case. Forbes owes more than $98,000 in medical expenses, he said.

Thornhill said he would set a hearing at a later date to address victim restitution.

According to testimony, Breen shot Forbes three times with the 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, outside of Rumors Bar and Grill that night. He first pointed the gun at Forbes' cousin, Sean Hiepler, 24, of Mount Vernon, and then he shot Forbes as Forbes attempted to stop him.

Forbes was shot in the abdomen twice and once in the hip, thigh area, which caused permanent nerve damage to his bowels and colon, according to testimony. Forbes didn't take the stand.

Breen testified in his own defense last month, claiming diminished capacity because he was intoxicated and didn't remember shooting the man he regards as a "brother." His blood alcohol content level was 0.272 when he was tested at the hospital. The legal limit is .08 percent.

Breen said at trial it was his habit to carry the Tec-9 pistol, fully loaded any time he left his home for self-protection and admitted to sticking it in his front waistband of his pants when the three of them went out that night.

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