School cop faces up to five years in prison for shooting hoax

Andrew Blankstein (Los Angeles Times) | December 14, 2011

The Los Angeles school police officer found guilty of staging his own shooting in a hoax that triggered a massive manhunt in the west San Fernando Valley could face up to five years in state prison or probation when he is sentenced Wednesday morning.

In a non-jury trial in September, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Richard N. Kirschner convicted Jeffrey Stenroos, 31, of several felonies and a misdemeanor charge including planting false evidence, insurance fraud and workers’ compensation fraud.

Stenroos also was ordered to be sent to state prison for a 90-day psychological evaluation to assess what kind of sentence he should receive.

The judge may also consider what restitution Stenroos should pay. City officials are seeking more than $350,000 from Stenroos to cover the costs of the operation. The school district is seeking to recover $58,000 in medical costs.

Stenroos’ attorney, Tim Murphy, acknowledged that his client made “an incredibly stupid mistake” by lying about the shooting. But he said prosecutors had failed to prove that Stenroos had been acting intentionally and with intent to commit fraud.

Stenroos, with nearly eight years on the force, spun an elaborate tale about being shot in the chest outside Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills by a man with a ponytail and bomber-style jacket. The bullet was absorbed by his bullet-proof vest.

The report touched off a massive response by more than 550 police officers across an eight-mile area that included a lockdown at nine schools.

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