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Lake County District Court news for April 26, 2017

Judge James A. Manley sentenced the following people on April 19:

Michael Ray Schwarz, 59, of Polson, was sentenced to two five-year terms with the Department of Corrections with all time suspended for two assaults on a police officer. The sentences will run concurrently. A criminal endangerment charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Schwarz was charged after officers responded to a residence when Schwarz allegedly threatened to kill himself. According to a court document, when a police officer came to the home, Schwarz grabbed a hatchet and knife and held the hatchet to his head. When the officer radioed for help, Schwarz pointed the knife and hatchet at the officer and then ran to his bedroom, barricaded himself inside and started a fire, according to the court document. Schwarz tried to cut an officer with a knife on two occasions during the incident, and police Tased Schwarz at least twice with no effect, the document states. He was later found hiding in the bedroom’s closet and surrendered. County attorney Steve Eschenbacher said the officers could’ve been justified in using deadly force. “If this would’ve been done somewhere else, the officers probably would’ve shot you,” Manley said. “The officers showed tremendous restraint and because of that you’re alive.” Schwarz apologized to the court, his parents and the city of Polson. He was ordered to pay $710 in fines and fees with restitution to be determined by probation and parole.

Michael Lyn Buchanan, 54, of Polson, was sentenced to three years with the Department of Corrections for criminal endangerment. The charge was amended from a fourth DUI after Buchanan registered a .146 blood alcohol content, according to a court document.

Victor John Starkel, 50, of St. Ignatius, was given a three-year deferred sentence with the Department of Corrections with credit for one day in jail for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. A theft charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. During a search of a residence in the 60900 block of Hillside Road in St. Ignatius on Nov. 16, 2016, police found numerous guns, rifles and ammunition, some of which was stolen, along with methamphetamine and $850 in cash, a court document states. Starkel was ordered to get a chemical dependency evaluation and forfeit four pieces of property.

Wayne D. Trahan, 36, of Polson, was given a three-year deferred sentence with the Department of Corrections for theft and a two-year deferred sentence for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. A charge of burglary was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. The sentences will run consecutively. According to a court document, Trahan was arrested after a security camera revealed a man taking a 2008 Kubota RTV 900 from a St. Ignatius residence in December 2015. When he was arrested, police found methamphetamine on him, according to a court document. He was ordered to get a chemical dependency evaluation and pay $7,712 in restitution. He was given credit for 19 days in jail.

Tara Elizabeth Irvine of Ronan was given a three-year deferred sentence with the Department of Corrections for an amended charge of criminal endangerment. According to a court document, she was arrested and charged with DUI, fourth offense, after she blew a .192 blood alcohol content. “You’ve got to quit drinking,” Manley told her.

Judge Kim Christopher sentenced the following people on April 20:

Anthony Steinebach, 22, of Ronan, was given a fiveyear sentence and a five-year suspended sentence to the Department of Corrections for two counts of aggravated assault that occurred in August 2016. The sentences will run consecutively. According to a court document, Steinebach assaulted a woman who was five weeks pregnant twice that month. He received a five-year deferred sentence for another incident involving the same woman in October of last year in which he violated a protective order, kicked a door off the hinges, damaged a table and microwave and smashed the headlights, windshield and side windows of a red Ford sport utility vehicle. In that case, he was charged with burglary and felony partner family member assault. Separate charges stemming from an April incident last year of burglary, partner family member assault and criminal mischief, the latter two misdemeanors, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

Roberta Rodda, 37, of Missoula, received a five-year sentence with the Department of Corrections after her original three-year deferred sentence for criminal possession of dangerous drugs was revoked for a probation violation. “They may consider early release if you cooperate,” Christopher said.

Juan Michael Scott, 21, of Billings, received a four-year deferred sentence for two counts of theft. He was ordered to pay $14,318 in restitution for stealing a lawnmower, among other things. He was given credit for 149 days in jail.

Roland James Brown, 59, of Ronan, received a three-year deferred sentence for criminal possession of dangerous drugs and bail jumping. A charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. He was given credit for 39 days in jail.

James Robert Damon, 40, of Polson, received a two-year suspended sentence in the Department of Corrections for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Because it was his third felony, Christopher also sentenced him to 30 days in the sheriff’s work detail program. He was given credit for one day in jail.

Lucy Tianna Parker, 25, of Ronan, received a re-imposed three-year deferred sentence for violating her probation for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Parker said in court that she missed some meetings with her probation officer after getting a deferred sentence last August. She was given credit for 23 days in jail. “You must have some kind of fairy godmother,” Christopher said, noting that the prosecuting and defense attorneys and her probation officer all agreed to give Parker another chance. “I don’t know if I’m hanging you or giving you a chance,” Christopher said, adding that she could’ve sentenced Parker to five years in the Montana Women’s Prison. Parker, who was ordered to complete a chemical dependency evaluation, said she wants to further her education.

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