By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Lionel Demontiney was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for an altercation in the Hill County Detention Center.
Judge David Rice on Tuesday sentenced Demontiney, 21, to two 10-year sentences in the Montana State Prison with the last five years of each suspended.
He set the sentences to run concurrently with the five-year prison term Demontiney got from Great Falls Judge Thomas McKittrick on Friday for a felony charge of assault. McKittrick imposed a 20-year sentence with all but five years suspended, meaning Demontiney will be on supervised release for the duration of the sentence.
"I think the combined sentences are appropriate," Rice told Demontiney. "There's punishment there but there's also a chance for rehabilitation."
After Demontiney was jailed in April on a charge of beating a Havre man, he was charged in connection with three incidents in the detention center.
Under a plea agreement, Demontiney pleaded guilty to the assault and to three charges stemming from one incident at the jail. Four other charges were dropped.
"I'm sorry for my actions," Demontiney said. He added that he has no way to disprove things he was written up for while in jail.
"I could be sleeping when they write me up," he said. "I'm being sentenced two times for the same charge."
Rice said he doubted that.
"I see very few prisoners who come here with as many write-ups as you," he said. "I don't think you were written up while you were asleep."
The charges Rice sentenced Demontiney for stemmed from an incident in August, when detention officers searched his cell. Demontiney, who was placed in a different cell during the search, became agitated. Demontiney struggled with officers who entered the cell, striking one in the face and spitting on him, a court document said.
The officers later found a toothbrush with a razor blade attached to it in Demontiney's cell, the document said.
Demontiney also was charged with riot, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct for an incident in the jail in June, and was charged with tampering with a witness for an incident in August. Those charges were dropped in the plea agreement.
Rice said a prison sentence for Demontiney is appropriate because of the violent nature of the charges against him and because he assaulted a peace officer.
"A peace officer in a jail should not have to be concerned about his safety. You resisted an officer when you should have submitted to his authority. You spit on him when you should have submitted to his authority," Rice said.
Rice ordered Demontiney to submit to blood testing for five years as recommended in the plea agreement.
In response to a question from Rice, deputy Hill County attorney Gina Bishop said the tests were recommended to make sure the detention officer was not exposed to communicable diseases like HIV or hepatitis.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that HIV or hepatitis can be spread by spitting.
Rice said the blood testing is appropriate.
"(The officer) should know if you have anything he should be concerned about," he said.
Demontiney was convicted in 2001 of mitigated deliberate homicide in the shooting death of his cousin Bryan Gopher. The Montana Supreme Court in 2002 overturned that conviction, saying that then District Judge John Warner had given the jury improper instructions.