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Judge rules against Spang


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Jacob Spang appeared in state District Court today to request a new attorney to represent him in a felony charge of aggravated assault filed against him in September.

Spang complained that court-appointed attorney Randy Randolph is "just not gonna do the job for me."

Spang said he didn't believe Randolph was doing his job because he hasn't yet filed motions of mental incompentency on Spang's behalf.

Judge John Warner said he was confused by Spang's claims of mental incompetency.

"We've met before, right?" Warner asked Spang. "You've certainly never given any indication that you're crazy."

Warner denied the motion for new counsel, saying that Randolph is both competent and experienced.

Randolph then moved that the trial, scheduled to begin Dec. 11, be continued until he can interview medical personnel who examined the alleged victim.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Justice Court, Spang is accused of knocking a woman to the ground, standing on her arms and hitting her about 10 times in the face, causing three broken bones in her face.

The woman, who had recanted her statements to police, entered the courtroom with Spang and sat behind him.

Randolph also advised the court that he would be filing a motion to change the location of the trial.

Warner continued the trial until Jan. 13.

Randolph also asked the judge to suppress evidence related to Spang's statements made to police when he turned himself in. Court documents say that Spang waived his rights and signed a written waiver prior to talking to police.

According to court documents, Spang told police he slapped the woman in the face, causing her injury. He claimed to have hit her only once, but said that he was drinking a lot and couldn't remember details. According to the document, Spang said he needed help for his problem and advised police that he had struck the woman on two other occasions.

Warner set a date to hear the motion to suppress on Nov. 22.

Spang faces a penalty of two to 20 years in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine. In addition, Hill County Attorney David Rice said that if Spang is convicted of the felony, he will ask that Spang be classified as a persistent felony offender, which could add between five and 100 years to the sentence.

Spang had been serving two concurrent 10-year sentences when the state Supreme Court in June threw out his convictions on two counts of intimidation by accountability. He was convicted of those charges and a count of tampering with physical evidence in connection with the slayings of Kristi Walker and Kevin Caplette in Havre in 1999. The Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained after Spang told police he needed a lawyer was inadmissible. A friend of Spang's was convicted of the homicides.

Rice decided not to retry Spang on the charges. Instead, Spang pleaded guilty to one charge of intimidation by accountability on June 28, and Warner sentenced him to 981 days in prison, with credit for 981 days already served.


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