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By Tim Leeds 

Spang pleads guilty to partner assault

 

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Spang pleads guilty to partner assault

Tim Leeds

A Havre man connected to a double murder in Havre in 1999 pleaded guilty in state District Court in Havre to a felony charge.

Jacob Spang, born in 1981, pleaded guilty before Judge David Rice in a plea agreement to a charge of partner or family member assault, fourth offense.

In the plea agreement, the Hill County Attorney's Office is recommending a felony charge of intimidation, for threatening to damage a car, be dropped and Spang be sentenced to three years with the state Department of Corrections, all suspended. He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 12.

Spang pleaded guilty in 2002 to intimidation by accountability in a 1999 double murder case. District Judge John Warner, who later was appointed to the state Supreme Court, sentenced Spang to 981 days in prison with credit for 981 days served.

The Supreme Court had previously overturned Spang's conviction on two counts of intimidation by accountability and a count of tampering with evidence in the murder case, saying statements by Spang made after he said he needed a lawyer should not have been admitted in his trial.

Reid Danell, also born in 1981, who pleaded guilty in 2000 to two counts of deliberate homicide in the 1999 murder, is serving two life sentences.

In April, Spang was arrested after police investigated a report that he had assaulted a woman. According to the charging document, Spang was arguing with a woman and threatened to damage a vehicle to prevent her from leaving the residence. He then began shoving her and pushed her onto a bed, then pushed his knee or elbow against her face, injuring her lip.

Spang's previous convictions and sentencing on partner or family member assault — in Montana, the first two counts of the offense are misdemeanors, while third or subsequent charges are felonies — came in the midst of and shortly after the murder trial and plea bargain.

Warner in July 1999 imposed a deferred imposition of sentence on a charge stemming from a Jan. 12, 1999, incident.

In October 1999, Warner found that Spang had failed to abide by conditions of his release, including enrolling in anger management classes by Aug. 15, with that deadline one month before the murders occurred.

In January 2000, while Spang was awaiting the murder trial, Warner sentenced him to a six-month suspended sentence on the misdemeanor charge.

Spang was again charged with assault after he was released in the 2002 plea agreement. Rice, then Hill County attorney, originally charged Spang in September 2002 with felony aggravated assault. In that case, Spang was accused of hitting the victim in the face with his fist, then standing on her arms and hitting her at least 10 times.

After the victim recanted her story and doctors found the injuries to be less severe than originally diagnosed, Rice offered a plea agreement to Spang on reduced charges.

Spang pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of partner or family member assault. He was warned at that time that if he were convicted of the offense again it would be a felony.

A Havre man connected to a double murder in Havre in 1999 pleaded guilty in state District Court in Havre to a felony charge.

Jacob Spang, born in 1981, pleaded guilty before Judge David Rice in a plea agreement to a charge of partner or family member assault, fourth offense.

In the plea agreement, the Hill County Attorney's Office is recommending a felony charge of intimidation, for threatening to damage a car, be dropped and Spang be sentenced to three years with the state Department of Corrections, all suspended. He is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 12.

Spang pleaded guilty in 2002 to intimidation by accountability in a 1999 double murder case. District Judge John Warner, who later was appointed to the state Supreme Court, sentenced Spang to 981 days in prison with credit for 981 days served.

The Supreme Court had previously overturned Spang's conviction on two counts of intimidation by accountability and a count of tampering with evidence in the murder case, saying statements by Spang made after he said he needed a lawyer should not have been admitted in his trial.

Reid Danell, also born in 1981, who pleaded guilty in 2000 to two counts of deliberate homicide in the 1999 murder, is serving two life sentences.

In April, Spang was arrested after police investigated a report that he had assaulted a woman. According to the charging document, Spang was arguing with a woman and threatened to damage a vehicle to prevent her from leaving the residence. He then began shoving her and pushed her onto a bed, then pushed his knee or elbow against her face, injuring her lip.

Spang's previous convictions and sentencing on partner or family member assault — in Montana, the first two counts of the offense are misdemeanors, while third or subsequent charges are felonies — came in the midst of and shortly after the murder trial and plea bargain.

Warner in July 1999 imposed a deferred imposition of sentence on a charge stemming from a Jan. 12, 1999, incident.

In October 1999, Warner found that Spang had failed to abide by conditions of his release, including enrolling in anger management classes by Aug. 15, with that deadline one month before the murders occurred.

In January 2000, while Spang was awaiting the murder trial, Warner sentenced him to a six-month suspended sentence on the misdemeanor charge.

Spang was again charged with assault after he was released in the 2002 plea agreement. Rice, then Hill County attorney, originally charged Spang in September 2002 with felony aggravated assault. In that case, Spang was accused of hitting the victim in the face with his fist, then standing on her arms and hitting her at least 10 times.

After the victim recanted her story and doctors found the injuries to be less severe than originally diagnosed, Rice offered a plea agreement to Spang on reduced charges.

Spang pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of partner or family member assault. He was warned at that time that if he were convicted of the offense again it would be a felony.

 
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