Benjamin Bucknell

Benjamin Leland Bucknell, center, with his lawyers Wednesday afternoon during a plea hearing in Benton County Circuit Court. 

A Corvallis man pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of attempted murder in Benton County Circuit Court for breaking into a house near the Oregon State University campus and attacking five people with a knife.

Benjamin Leland Bucknell, 24, was arrested in May 2017 after setting fire to the house, breaking in and attacking the residents before fleeing and being captured by police. Bucknell pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder; three counts of first-degree assault, first-degree arson and first-degree burglary; and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon in the case before Judge Locke Williams.

In the same hearing, Bucknell pleaded guilty to a count of criminal mischief in the first degree for breaking into The Retreat, a large student housing complex, in February 2017 and doing more than $1,000 in property damage.

Wednesday’s hearing was emotional, with one of the victims and members of her family crying as Bucknell entered his plea.

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Williams said in court that Bucknell and the state had come to a plea agreement in the case, but the sentencing would not take place until July 19.

In 2018, a Linn County judge sentenced Bucknell to just over three years of incarceration after he pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree assault for a 2015 incident in which he attacked a man in a bathroom at Linn-Benton Community College's Calapooia Hall in Albany. 

Bucknell has remained in police custody since his arrest in May 2017.

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.