Susan McDaniel Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
A jury Thursday convicted a former Havre resident on a felony criminal mischief charge. Shawn Jason Kessler, 35, was transported to Havre for the trial from the Montana State Prison where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the crime of operation of a clandestine laboratory. He was convicted of that crime on Oct. 20. It was his second conviction for the crime of operation of a clandestine laboratory. The first conviction for operation of a meth lab occurred when Kessler and girlfriend Leslie Felton were the tenants in an apartment owned by Randy Christofferson that was being used as a meth lab in 2002. The raid on June 6 caught the two in the middle of cooking a new batch of methamphetamine. Kessler was sentenced to two years at Montana State Prison on that charge. Hill County Attorney Cyndee L. Peterson said in a press release issued Thursday that the jury returned the verdict of guilty at approximately 1 p.m. after a half-day trial. The current charges stemmed from Kessler's actions on Aug. 9, when he was an inmate at the Hill County Detention Center. Kessler was accused of punching a window in a door when he was upset with his girlfriend at the time, who was also in the detention center. The damage to the county's property exceeded $1,000. The charge of operation of clandestine laboratory was the pending charge against Kessler and his girlfriend when they were incarcerated in August. Sentencing for the offense of criminal mischief is set on Jan. 19. Kessler faces up to 10 years in prison for the offense. In addition, the Hill County Attorney's Office will seek restitution for the damaged property.