A Havre woman entered pleas this morning in an agreement on charges she assaulted her husband, including threatening him with a gun, and with possessing methamphetamine the fourth time she was arrested while out on bond awaiting trial.
Cindy R. Stidham, born in 1966, pleaded no contest to a felony count of assault with a weapon and a misdemeanor count of partner or family assault and guilty to a felony charge of possessing methamphetamine while in a Havre casino Jan. 24.
Judge Dan Boucher said he would consider a written motion to release Stidham pending her April 21 sentencing to put her affairs in order and spend time with her family.
Stidham originally was arrested on charges including attempted murder when she entered the business and home of her husband, Randy Stidham, June 20 and threatened him with his own gun, injuring him during a struggle after he knocked the gun from her hand.
Stidham later told officers when he picked up the gun, he found that it had jammed.
She was arrested later at a North Havre residence, where, law enforcement officers said, they also found drugs and paraphernalia in her possession.
The state filed several requests to revoke her release while she was out on bond, including her going to bars with her husband, whom she was ordered not to contact, including during the Jan. 24 incident.
In the plea agreement signed by Stidham, the Hill County Attorney recommended a 10-year sentence with eight suspended on the assault charge, and a six-month sentence on the partner assault, and a five-year suspended sentence on the drug charge.
Three other charges filed after the June 20 incident will be dropped under the plea agreement.
In a no contest plea, the defendant agrees that the prosecution likely would convict them in trial, but does not admit to committing the crime.
Stidham's attorney, Public Defender Tom Schoenleben, told Boucher that Stidham's memory is impaired and she does not recall the events that morning, so cannot confirm or deny what happened.
Hill County Attorney Gina Dahl agreed, saying she understands the reason is two-fold. Stidham is willing to take responsibility for the events the morning of June 20, Dahl said, but because of her intoxicated state that morning, she isn't sure she committed the offenses but agrees the state has sufficient evidence to likely convict her.
The police first responded to the incident when a caller at 9:38 a.m. reported fighting in the business and residence.
Schoenleben also asked the judge to consider releasing Stidham before sentencing so she can deal with foreclosure proceedings against her home, retrieve her possessions from the home, and spend time with her family before going to treatment under the plea agreement. He said Randy Stidham has offered to supervise Stidham.
Schoenleben said Stidham already has entered a counseling program while in the jail, and that he believes she could continue that on an outpatient basis.
Dahl said she has serious concerns, especially since Stidham has shown she "does not take this seriously," and would recommend that, at most, she be allowed to leave the jail on a limited basis to deal with the foreclosure issues and retrieve her possessions then return to jail.
Boucher told Schoenleben to file a written motion detailing the proposal. He said he would need some assurances that Stidham would not use drugs if she were released, especially since she violated that requirement four times since her first release and just pleaded guilty today to a felony count stemming from a violation.
"I don't have any assurance, frankly, that she won't use," Boucher said.