Geocacher Shooter Jailed For Seven Years


Categories: Geocaching News


We reported a month ago on 71-year-old Manuel Soria Heim being found guilty of assaulting two adult geocachers with a gun. Now the American has been sentenced to seven years and four months in jail.

At Tuesday’s hearing in Victorville Superior Court, Deputy Public Defender Luke Byward attempted to persuade Judge John Tomberlin that Heim should only get probation … ‘He overreacted. He made a mistake,’ Byward said. He added that Heim has never had so much as a traffic ticket and that a prison term could mean putting him behind bars ‘effectively for the rest of his life’.”

Interesting to note the lack of previous criminal history for Heim. It suggests he must have been very stressed at the time of the shooting to take that action.

[Judge] Tomberlin flatly rejected the idea that it was a probation case. He said Heim’s unprovoked actions caused a great threat of bodily harm as well as emotional injuries to the victims.

“I don’t see that Mr. Heim’s past experience with somebody else who’s ripped him off gives him license to shoot people who just happen to wander onto his property for totally innocent reasons,” Tomberlin said. “There’s absolutely nothing sinister whatsoever that the victims in this case were engaged in.”

So an understandable reason there for why Heim has received a jail term.

My question is how much time will he actually serve? Given his age, lack of previous convictions and the seemingly packed American jails, I wouldn’t be surprised if Heim is released before the year is out – but then again, he’s not Lindsay Lohan!

* Do you think Manual Heim’s imprisonment is fair? Let us know in the comments below.




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  1. Pete says:

    November 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    …he looks in better shape than Lindsay Lohan!

  2. Ryan says:

    November 3, 2011 at 5:07 am

    So was the geocache in question actually on private property? This question has never been directly addressed in the articles, although this one actually says they were ‘on his property’

  3. Cumbyrocks says:

    November 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Yes, the original cache was actually on Heim’s land. The update photo at the bottom of this post shows the location of the original cache. What I’ve not seen, though I haven’t followed the forums etc as closely since he was convicted, was much in the way of criticism towards the CO who placed the cache on private land in the first place. Whilst satellite photos show that discerning private and public land would be very difficult a quick look on google maps shows the outline of the property, which takes up most of the hill the cache is placed on.

  4. Geodarts says:

    September 14, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I don’t know if anybody will read this thread, but it came up first when I did a search for Heim. I still think about this case. Certainly shooting towards someone, even as a warning shot, was unlawful. That a bullet hit a young man was tragic – although he was acquitted of that charge. But it was also very avoidable if the CO had taken a few minutes to verify the location of the cache. The google maps showed the property outlines and a quick search reveals it was owned by the “Heim Family Trust.” The cache was later moved to another private parcel — owned by a company that evidently does not pay much attention to what goes on up there.

    In any event, I check the California prison inmate locator every once in a while to see if he is still alive. He will have to serve at least 85% of the sentence before being paroled. He was acquitted of two of the four charges but his sentence was the minimum that could be given short of probation (which is statutorily discouraged). As of today, he remains in prison.

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