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Michel gets 20 years for assault

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A Ronan man was sentenced at District Court in Polson on April 24 to 20 years in the Montana State Prison with none of that time suspended on an amended charge of aggravated assault.

Keith Lee Michel Jr., 28, was initially charged with sexual assault but entered into a plea agreement on Jan. 2 that amended the charge.

According to court records, law enforcement was called to a disturbance at a residence in Ronan Aug. 24, 2018. At the conclusion of investigating, the responding officers were alerted to the possible abuse of a 4-year-old child by a relative at this same residence. Michel was the person identified in connection to the abuse. He was also wanted on an outstanding warrant on an unrelated matter. 

When authorities returned to serve the warrant, Michel denied the child was at the home. The responding officers could see the boy behind Michel and described him as being in a semi-responsive state with visible injuries to his face and body. Lacerations, bruising and a possible bite mark were also documented.

The child was transported to St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Medical staff indicated the child suffered injuries of an unknown cause with visible open wounds. The injuries “appeared to be from burns.” A catheter had to be inserted through the boy’s abdomen. He was then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Washington for further treatment.

Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher indicated that the boy’s foster family would likely adopt him. Michel was also ordered to pay restitution of $22,725.64. Judge James Manley indicated that Michel should be screened for treatment concerning severe methamphetamine and heroin addiction.

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