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Lake County District Court news for May 6, 2010

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Judge C.B. McNeil dealt with the following cases Wednesday, April 28, 2010. 

Joshua Ray Couture, 20, Ronan, pleaded not guilty to felony assault on a police officer. He remains in custody and an omnibus hearing is set for Wednesday, May 26 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from an incident on April 10 when police received reports of a man passed out on US Highway 93, near mile-marker 19. Five minutes later, a Tribal Officer observed Couture walking on the highway in the same area. 

When the officer approached him, Couture responded abrasively and the officer noted a strong odor of alcohol coming from him. He also noted that Couture was unsteady on his feet. 

Judging that Couture was intoxicated, he instructed him to have a seat in the back of his patrol car. Couture then threatened the officer and took a swing at him. After being handcuffed, Couture kicked the officer in the face and chest. 

Eugene Charles Heavy Runner, Jr., 60, Arlee, pleaded not guilty to felony partner or family member assault - third offense and an omnibus hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, June 2 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from an April 10 incident when Tribal Police responded to Heavy Runner’s home after receiving reports of possible domestic abuse. When officers arrived, they could hear Heavy Runner yelling inside the house so they knocked and Heavy Runner answered. 

After questioning, the woman he was yelling at told officers that Heavy Runner had grabbed her by the right elbow and pulled her off the couch. Officers observed a thumb-sized bruise above her elbow. 

Brian Keith Viles, 46, Ronan, pleaded not guilty to felony DUI - fourth or subsequent offense and misdemeanors operating a vehicle with without liability insurance in effect and driving while privilege to do so is revoked. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 2 at 9 a.m. 

According to court records, the charges stem from a January 10 incident when a Montana Highway Patrol trooper responded to a one-vehicle crash on Montana Highway 35 near mile-marker 25. 

When the trooper arrived, Viles was in the ambulance receiving medical attention. The trooper spoke with him and he said he’d come around a corner of the highway, hit the brakes too hard and lost control of his vehicle.

The trooper noted that Viles’ eyes were bloodshot and watery, his speech was slurred, and he seemed confused. The trooper also noted a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Viles. 

When asked how much he’d had to drink, Viles said he’d had three beers. Viles also told the trooper that he didn’t have his license because it was suspended. When asked to show proof of insurance, Viles told the trooper that it was not his car. 

Viles was taken to Lake County Jail for further questioning and there he provided a blood sample that registered a BAC of 1.66%.

Joseph Sparks, 19, of Blain, Wash., received a deferred imposition of sentence for three years for felony possession of explosives. His sentence is for 30 days in the Lake County Jail with credit for time served for possession of explosives. According to a plea agreement, Sparks would receive time suspended if he attained a G.E.D. within six months. He presented his G.E.D. and the court deemed the 30-day sentence as satisfied. 

The sentence stems from an earlier hearing when Sparks pleaded guilty to felony possession of explosives. He received deferred sentence for three years, was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, and was fined $435. 

According to court records, the charges stemmed from an incident on Aug. 27, 2009 when there were several calls made to Lake County Dispatch regarding explosions along Terrace Lake Road, east of Ronan. A witness followed an SUV with no doors and got a license plate number of the vehicle. Law enforcement officers later located the vehicle at a Ronan home and conducted interviews with the occupants, including Sparks, who admitted to stopping next to the mailboxes which he planned to blow up using sparker bombs.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy confirmed that two mailboxes were destroyed by explosives, which were strong enough to send debris more than 150 feet from the blast site.

Ricky Scott Riebe, 49, Pablo, received a deferred imposition of sentence until Sept. 1, 2011 for felony tampering with witnesses and informants. For misdemeanor privacy in communications, Riebe was sentenced to Lake County Jail for six months with all suspended.

According to court records, the charges stem from a May 28, 2009 incident when a Lake County Detective received a call from a woman that stated Reibe was harassing her. She said he had made threatening phone calls to her about dropping assault charges against another family member.

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