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Rossbach found guilty of assault on a peace officer

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It took a Lake County jury less than an hour to find a St. Ignatius man guilty of felony assault on a peace officer. 

The trial for William G. Rossbach, 43, began the morning of Feb. 5. Closing arguments were heard the following day and by 11:30 a.m. the guilty verdict was reached.

It was the second time the case had gone to a jury trial. The first case ended in a mistrial in December of 2019.

The charge stems from an incident last May 15 when Rossbach was seen riding a stolen bike. Rossbach fled from a Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Law Enforcement Officer. 

Officer T. J. Haynes followed the fleeing suspect, who was attempting to hide behind a bush. Rossbach was ordered to come out with his hands up. As Haynes drew his Taser stun gun, Rossbach told Haynes: “F**** you, T. J. I’m not going to jail.” As Rossbach came out from behind the bushes, Haynes continued to warn Rossbach that the Taser would be used. 

Rossbach refused to comply and the officer used his Taser. Rossbach, who was in possession of a knife, seemed to be unaffected and pulled the probes out and started to walk away. When Haynes approached, Rossbach threw the knife on the ground and began swinging his fists. Haynes was hit on the right side of his head. Rossbach declared that he knew what he was doing was a felony but continued punching Haynes. Haynes was able to detain Rossbach, but it took the aid of two witnesses to get Rossbach into handcuffs.

Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher prosecuted the case. Rossbach was represented by Alisha Backus with the Public Defenders Office in Kalispell. District Judge James Manley, who presided over the trial, scheduled sentencing for March 25.

 

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