Man Gets 4 Life Terms for Trying to Kill Hemet Police With Booby Traps
FRENCH VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) -- The Hemet man convicted of attempted murder of a police officer was sentenced Friday to four consecutive life sentences.

Nicholas John Smit, 41, was given the maximum sentence by a Riverside judge for trying to kill Hemet police Detective Chuck Johnson in a series of assassination attempts over several months.

The sentence ensures Smit will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Smit, who is considered a high risk inmate, sat in a red jail uniform with black protective mittens and chains. He hung his head and did not speak during the hearing or face the courtroom.

Last month, Smit was convicted on 11of the 12 felony charges against him, including attempted murder of a police officer, conspiracy to commit murder, assembling a booby trap and drug charges.

A Murrieta jury deliberated four days before convicting Nicolas John Smit of the attempted murder counts, as well as being in possession of a zip gun, attempting to ignite an incendiary device in the commission of a felony, conspiracy, five drug-related offenses and multiple sentence-enhancing allegations, including committing a crime while on bail.

Beginning in December 2009, Hemet police were targeted in a series of arson and booby trapping attacks. The last incident came June 28th, when a fire was set at Hemet property and evidence building.

The fire was reported around 2:23 a.m. in the 400 block of east Devonshire Ave.

Fire crews put out the blaze rather quickly, however, there was "extensive damage" to the building and its contents, said Lt. Duane Wisehart.

The fire was being investigated as arson and was believed to be connected to the previous attacks on the Hemet Police Department in the last six months, Wisehart said.

The discovery comes on the heels of recent attacks involving booby traps set at the headquarters of the Hemet-San Jacinto Valley Gang Task Force.

Several city vehicles were also torched in the attacks.

Other incidents included filling a building with flammable natural gas vapors, rigging a gun on a fence to fire at an officer, placing explosive devices under unmarked police cars and aiming an inert military training rocket toward a police building.

No one was injured in any of the attacks.

Smit's alleged co-conspirator, William Hansen, 36, of Homeland, is set to be tried separately in January.