On September 11, 2008, two men forced their way into a house. One of them sprayed pepper spray into the eyes of the male occupant and then brutally beat him with a baseball beat, nearly killing him. The injury left the victim permanently disabled. It was all part of a robbery plot involving four people. All except one had already been sentenced for their roles in the crime. The remaining suspect was just recently sentenced in a district court.
A recent Billings Gazette story reported that a judge sentenced the suspect to 20 years in jail, with 14 years suspended, for aggravated burglary by accountability. The suspect was also sentenced to a five-year term with the Montana Department of Corrections for felony tampering. He was also ordered to pay more than $275,000 in restitution for the victim’s injuries.
The victim’s wife was present during the sentencing. She had tearfully testified that her husband would require 24-hour care for the rest of his life because of what the suspects had done. The robber who had beaten the victim had testified how the robbery was planned and carried out and stated that the suspect stopped him from beating the man further, possibly saving his life. The suspect briefly spoke at the hearing, stating that he wanted to take responsibility for his role in the crime. He apologized to the victim, who was present but could not make a statement.
In Colorado, this suspect would be guilty of a Class 3 felony had he actually participated in beating the victim. Because he didn’t, and actually prevented the victim from being beaten to death, it appears his defense attorney successfully got his client a reduced sentence. According to the story, the suspect has been in jail since his arrest shortly after the crime in 2008. With the suspended sentence plus the time he’s already served, he may be out of jail within a year.