Monterey, CA…Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced today that the Honorable Mark E. Hood sentenced Charles Kenneth Lafferty, age 54, to 15 years in state prison following his guilty pleas to 28 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer. All of these convictions qualify as strikes under California’s Three Strikes law. The incidents involved Lafferty firing projectiles at numerous vehicles driving on Monterey County highways between February 2019 and January 2020.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested him in Nipomo, California, on January 22, 2020, following a comprehensive investigation into more than 70 incidents of vehicles being struck with unknown objects while driving.
He became a suspect when CHP identified his vehicle at the scene of several reported projectile incidents. A detailed digital forensic analysis linked him to more than 50 of the incidents reported to CHP. Some incidents were reported days or weeks after the fact, and not all drivers were able to provide the exact date, time, and location for when and where their vehicles were damaged.
Six people in the affected vehicles suffered cuts and scrapes as a result of being hit with broken glass. A majority of the drivers and passengers were uninjured. No collisions were reported as a result of these incidents.
The two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer involved Lafferty shooting a marble at two CHP officers in a marked patrol vehicle, who were responding to an earlier projectile incident. Neither officer suffered injuries.
After Lafferty’s arrest, he admitted to repeatedly shooting marbles at traffic using a slingshot, but he never provided an exact number of times he did so. During his police interview, Lafferty did not disclose a motive for his actions. Police seized a slingshot, a slingshot replacement band, and 55 marbles from Lafferty’s vehicle the day he was arrested.
The extensive investigation was conducted by the CHP Coastal Investigative Services Unit and the CHP Monterey Area, with assistance from the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office. District Attorney’s Office Victim Advocate Martamaria Rosado assisted the many victims.