By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Lionel Demontiney faces a recommended five-year prison sentence after pleading guilty Wednesday to four charges in state District Court in Havre.
Demontiney, 21, pleaded guilty to felony charges of aggravated assault, assault on a peace officer and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner, and a misdemeanor charge of assault with bodily fluids.
Demontiney faced a total of eight charges in three separate cases. The other four charges will be dropped.
He appeared in court on two of the cases Tuesday, but changed his mind about entering a guilty plea once he stood before Judge David Rice. He again changed his mind and a changeof-plea hearing was rescheduled for Wednesday.
After that hearing, he appeared before Judge Thomas McKittrick of Great Falls on the third case.
Demontiney told McKittrick that pleading guilty is the best thing he can do for his children.
"While I'm incarcerated, I'm not allowed to see my kids. I push them away because of the charge I'm facing," Demontiney said, crying at times.
In the plea agreement, the Hill County Attorney's Office is recommending a five-year prison sentence and restitution for the assault charge, two concurrent 10-year suspended sentences for assault on a peace officer and possession of a deadly weapon, and six months in jail for assault with bodily fluids, to be served concurrently. The agreement is not binding on a judge at the time of sentencing.
In exchange for his guilty pleas, the county attorney will drop felony charges of tampering with a witness, riot or incitement to riot, and misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and criminal mischief.
The aggravated assault charge stems from an incident on April 24 when Demontiney was accused of beating a man, a court document said.
The other charges he faced stemmed from his alleged behavior at the Hill County Detention Center.
Demontiney was accused of participating in a June 4 riot during which prisoners refused to go into their cells, jammed doors and vandalized the facility, the Hill County Sheriff's Office said.
On Aug. 15, officers found a toothbrush with a razor blade attached to it in his cell, a court document said. He is accused of hitting and spitting on a corrections officer while his cell was being searched.
Demontiney was convicted by a state District Court jury in Havre in June 2001 of mitigated deliberate homicide in the shooting death of his cousin, Bryan Gopher, in an altercation in the Holiday Village Shopping Center parking lot on Nov. 22, 2000.
The Montana Supreme Court overturned the conviction in July 2002, saying Judge John Warner had given incorrect jury instructions at the end of the trial, which produced a flawed verdict. The high court also said Demontiney could not be tried again in the shooting death.