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Failed assassin gets 40 years

Francisco Martin Duran, convicted of trying to kill President Clinton by firing a barrage of bullets at the White House, was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Charles Richey rejected the government's request to lock up Duran for life, saying he thought the sentence would serve to punish the defendant and discourage others from similar acts.

"That is the rationale," Richey said. "I do this without any malice."

Duran, in a blue prison jumpsuit and orange shoes, told the court that he had wanted to die on Oct. 29, 1994, the day he fired more than two dozen bullets at the mansion. At the time of the shooting, Clinton was watching a football game on TV in the living quarters. No one was injured.

"My acts . . . were inexcusable and wrong," Duran said in an even voice before he was sentenced. "I'm sorry that I've not only ruined my life and my future but that of my wife and son.

"My son will be the lion's claw that pulls me from death. Your Honor, I wish no harm on anyone."

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Duran, 26, is not eligible for parole. He could reduce his sentence by as much as five years with time off for good behavior, according to Monty Wilkinson, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney.