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Velazquez sentenced for strangulation, protection order violations

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POLSON — A former Polson man was committed at District Court in Polson on Nov. 17 to the Montana Department of Corrections for a total of seven years with all that time suspended except for 243 days credit for time already served. Morgan Aniba Quinones Velazquez, 48, entered plea of guilty to two counts of violation of an order of protection, one misdemeanor and one felony. He also pleaded guilty to felony strangulation of a partner or family member. The guilty pleas were entered during a change of plea hearing Sept. 22, and came as part of a plea agreement that dismisses two felony counts of violation of an order of protection, misdemeanor criminal destruction of or tampering with a communications device and felony criminal endangerment.

According to court records, on June 14, 2020, a woman called 911 to report Velazquez had run her off the road and into a ditch. The woman told a responding Lake County Sheriff’s deputy that she was on her way to work when Velazquez approached her from the opposite direction in another vehicle and tried to run her off the road. After some more evasive action was taken by the victim, she was eventually forced to stop her vehicle. Velazquez was able to access the bed of her truck by stepping onto the running boards. He got into the cab of the truck through a sliding rear window. The woman states that’s when Velazquez wrapped his arms around her neck and began choking her causing her to drive into the ditch. She says she tried to call 911 from her mobile phone but Velazquez grabbed it out of her hands and threw it down. She was able to get out of the truck and run to a witness for help and make the 911 call. 

Prosecutor Molly Owen with the Lake County Attorney’s office said this was “not an isolated event” and that this has “completely destroyed this family.” Owen had argued the seven years DOC not be suspended.

Quinones Velazquez was already facing the three counts of violation of an order of protection prior to the June 14, 2020 incident.

Judge James Manley presided over the case.

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