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Eck sentenced to 20 years in prison for shooting at deputies

Ashley Hirtzel

Matthew Eck was sentenced to 20 years in prison in Erie County Court Friday. Eck was charged on two counts of attempted second-degree murder for shooting at sheriff's deputies this past spring.

Eck, 48, pleaded guilty earlier this month to firing an assault rifle at two sheriff’s deputies during a domestic disturbance in the Town of Boston in March.

He faced a maximum sentence of 25 years for the incident in which Eck fired 60 shots at officers, damaging three police vehicles. The standoff ended after 12 hours.

Defense Attorney Frank LoTempio argued for a lesser sentence as Eck has been battling issues such as a traumatic brain injury, depression and bipolar disorder.

“We agreed upon with the District Attorney’s Office between 15 and 25 [years]. We were certainly looking for 15 [years]. We thought that was reasonable, but in the same breadth we understand what the judge has said. We understand what goes on in such a situation when a shooting occurs at a police officer or deputy. So, it’s a difficult situation for everybody. I think Matt, this is not the man that you see. I think Matt is a different person. I think it was really an unfortunate event,” said LoTempio.

During his sentencing hearing, an emotional Eck apologized for his actions.

“I’m truly sorry for what I did that night. The actions that night were not the man that I had as a person. I’d like to apologize to my family as I feel I’ve destroyed their lives. Most important I apologize to the officers and their families as I could have destroyed their lives, as well as mine,” said Eck.

Credit Ashley Hirtzel / WBFO
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita

Eck was also under the influence of medication and alcohol during the altercation, but Judge Michael D’Amico said he couldn’t impose a lesser sentence due to the fact that Eck knew he shouldn’t have been drinking while being in possession of an assault weapon.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said he was pleased with the sentence. He says he’s grateful the incident didn’t end tragically.

“These guys put their lives on the line every single day and every single night. Everyday it’s in the back of their minds; am I going to encounter some lunatic out in the woods? Is there going to be some guy that I’m pulling over that has a warrant on him or something? It’s an extraordinarily dangerous job. We’re very thankful that either deputy was hurt. It was also the main reason that I let them call how this case was going to be prosecuted,” said Sedita.

LoTempio says he will not appeal the sentencing decision. He says he believes the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Deputies, and the District Attorney’s Office were "incredibly reasonable."