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Woman awaits mental health exam before sentencing

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A Polson man accused of assaulting a fellow group home member pled guilty to aggravated assault. Harley Gene Press, 26, entered the plea at District Court in Polson on Nov. 25 before Judge James Manley. 

Depending on the outcome of a court-ordered mental health evaluation, sentencing could include a commitment to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services for 10 years or the Montana Department of Corrections for 10 years with five years suspended.

Manley is not bound by the plea agreement because it was entered after an omnibus hearing. The maximum penalty for aggravated assault is 20 years in prison.

Press was accused, according to charging documents, of attacking a 76-year-old woman while she was in her wheelchair at the group home in Polson on Jan. 5. Surveillance video at the home shows Press hitting the victim on the shoulder and neck and then “rear back and violently” hit the victim four more times.

Manley set sentencing for Jan. 20. Press remains in the Lake County jail with bail set at $25,000.


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