Army Vet Accused of Threatening Muslim Woman At Twin Falls Walmart to Enter Mental Health Court
An Army veteran accused of malicious harassment was sentenced on Monday to probation and mental health court.
John C. Larsen, 42, of Twin Falls, had a prison term of three to five years suspended. He will instead serve a four-year probation and participate in the 5th Judicial District Mental Health Court with a specialized treatment program tailored to his needs. Larsen has previously described himself as a 20-year veteran who was declared 100 percent disabled based on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He was accused of screaming at a Muslim woman, Amna Schultz, of Jerome, while both parties were shopping near the Twin Falls Walmart’s electronics department last December.
Minidoka County 5th District Judge Jonathan Brody accepted Larsen’s entry of an Alford plea to the felony malicious harassment charge, which allows a defendant to maintain innocence to gain the benefits of the plea agreement, on the second day of Larsen’s June trial. The charge was not be amended or reduced as part of the plea.
“You’re going to need to gain insight as to what happened and to yourself, because you’re going to need to be able to control yourself,” Brody said.
Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs and Larsen’s attorney, Joe Rockstahl, worked together on the plea agreement to utilize aspects of a Veterans’ Court available in Ada County through the 4th Judicial District. As there is no such program in the 5th Judicial District, Larsen will be the first to benefit from the creation of a new program track here.
“It will allow him to maintain appropriate behavior when he’s in a stressful situation,” Loebs said at the sentencing.
Schultz was not present at Monday’s hearing, as Loebs noted she has left the country.
Bradley Guire may be reached at 735-3380.