Southern California Woman Indicted for Knife Assault on a Camper in Sequoia National Park

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment today against Sarah E. Meenahan, 28, of Manhattan Beach, charging her with assault with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and failure to obey a lawful command, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on May 16, 2022, Meenahan entered a camper van in Sequoia National Park and attempted to stab the occupant. The occupant was able to subdue Meenahan before she could stab him, and Meenahan fled the camper van. Meenahan was driving a vehicle that had been taken from a repair shop – neither the repair shop nor the owner gave anyone permission to drive the vehicle. When National Park Service rangers encountered her and tried to arrest her, she refused to comply with commands, and was only taken into custody after rangers deployed a taser.

This case is the product of an investigation by the National Park Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Sanchez and Michael G. Tierney are prosecuting the case.

If convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon, Meenahan faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. If convicted of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, Meenahan faces a maximum statutory penalty of a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. If convicted of failure to obey a lawful command, Meenahan faces a maximum statutory penalty of six months in jail or a fine of up to $5,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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