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Spang case set for trial


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District Court Judge John Warner denied a motion to dismiss an aggravated assault charge against Jacob Spang this morning and set a trial date for Dec. 11.

Spang, 21, of Havre is accused of felony aggravated assault, which has a penalty of two to 20 years in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine. Hill County Attorney David Rice said he will ask that Spang be classified as a persistent felony offender if convicted, which would add five to 100 more years to the sentence.

Spang pleaded guilty on June 28 to intimidation by accountability in the double homicide of Kristi Walker and Kevin Caplette in Havre in 1999. The Supreme Court had overturned two earlier convictions of intimidation by accountability in the case, ruling that evidence obtained after Spang said he needed a lawyer was inadmissible. Spang also was convicted of tampering with physical evidence.

Spang was accused of unloading and reloading the gun that his friend, Reid Danell, used to kill Walker and Caplette. He was also accused of ripping the phone cords out at the scene of the killings, and of taking items from the victims' garage.

Warner in June sentenced Spang to 981 days in the state prison, with credit for the 981 days he had already served before the Supreme Court tossed out the two convictions.

Rice filed a criminal complaint against Spang on Sept. 12 alleging that Spang broke three bones in a woman's face. He's accused of striking her in the face, knocking her to the ground, then standing on her arms and hitting her several more times on Sept. 10, according to the criminal complaint.

Randy Randolph, Spang's attorney, told Warner today that the alleged victim said Spang did not hurt her seriously and that doctors told her her injuries were not serious.

If no serious injury resulted, Spang could only be charged with partner or family assault, a misdemeanor.

"I felt the matter was overcharged," Randolph said.

Rice told the judge that doctors have told him that X-rays taken following the incident showed that she had fractured bones around her eye socket, and that it was a serious injury.

Warner said a recanting witness was not enough to dismiss the case. There is the potential that the witness changed her story because of fear of Spang, he said.

The bond in the case was originally set at $50,000. Warner reduced it to $7,500 today after Rice said he had no objections to the conditions of release filed by Randolph.

The alleged victim is willing to have Spang released to her custody, Randolph said.

Warner denied Randolph's request to release Spang without bond.


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