A King County judge handed Solomon Thompson an exceptional sentence of 20 years for assaulting two women in Rainier Valley.

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Allan Ausman is overcome by emotion when he thinks back to the morning last summer when, driven by adrenaline and a deep loyalty for his wife and their elderly neighbor, he stood up to an attacker more than 50 years his junior.

The 75-year-old retired machine-shop manager and Army veteran said he acted when he heard his wife of 25 years cry for help as she and their 81-year-old neighbor were assaulted by a stranger in a South Seattle neighborhood July 30.

Ausman brushes off any mention of being a hero.

“If I had to do it again, I would do it all the same way,” Ausman said Friday as he left a Seattle courtroom where the attacker, Solomon Thompson, was given an exceptional sentence of 20 years in prison. “I did the best I could to protect the women I love.”

Delores “Dee” Hagstrom was just out of the shower, rushing to answer the front door. She thought it was the furnace repairman, but Hagstrom, now 82, was met by a stranger on her porch and she knew he was trouble, a family friend said in court Friday.

The stranger, identified as Thompson, punched her in the face, stabbed her in the throat and started groping at her bathrobe. Hagstrom screamed and neighbor Sharon Ausman, 70, ran to help, only to be slugged by the stranger as well. She, too, began screaming.

Allan Ausman heard those cries and arrived in Hagstrom’s yard as Thompson was trying to flee, Ausman told police. Ausman wrestled the man to the ground. During the struggle, Ausman managed to take the stranger’s coat before the younger man got away, police said.

Police responding to the neighborhood in the 7200 block of South Ryan Street were able to identify the attacker as Thompson through items in his jacket. It turned out that Thompson had been released from King County Jail four days earlier, where he had been serving time for violating the terms of his Department of Corrections probation.

The day after the South Seattle attacks, Thompson was booked into Renton City Jail on two unrelated misdemeanor assaults. Thompson since has pleaded guilty to those counts, said King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Montgomery.

Last month, Thompson pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary, second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree assault in connection with the attacks on South Ryan Street.

Montgomery asked Superior Court Judge Michael Hayden on Friday to give Thompson an exceptional sentence of 15 years in prison because of the age of his victims and because the attacks occurred so soon after his release from jail.

Hayden gave Thompson an even steeper sentence.

“At some point, the public has to be protected,” the judge said.

The 20-year sentence is nearly 12 years longer than the recommended sentence at the top of the standard sentencing range, Montgomery said.

Thompson, 23, said little during Friday’s hearing. He gave no explanation for his actions last July.

Thompson’s mother, his friends and his lawyer described him as a one-time straight-A high-school student who was overwhelmed by mental-health troubles while in college on the East Coast.

Throughout Friday’s hearing, Thompson stared at the ceiling, picked his nails and spent long stretches with his eyes closed.

Mark Flora, Thompson’s lawyer, had asked Hayden to impose less prison time and more time under community supervision.

The defense attorney said Thompson needs help for his mental illness.

“These crimes were committed by somebody who was disturbed,” Flora said. “He doesn’t want to be the person who committed these crimes … he wants to lead a normal life.”

Since his arrest last summer, Thompson has been back in trouble for attacking a King County Jail officer. He pleaded guilty to custodial assault on Friday in connection to the incident.

In 2009, Thompson was convicted of custodial assault, for attacking another corrections officer, as well as second-degree robbery and first-degree theft. He was convicted in 2007 of domestic-violence harassment. Prosecutors say he attacked his mother and proclaimed he was “evil.”

After Thompson’s 2009 conviction, he was ordered to undergo a mental-health evaluation and take medications prescribed for his mental illnesses.

He has spent time at Western State Hospital and been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder and substance-abuse issues, according to court filings.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com