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St. Ignatius man headed to trial

Plea agreement withdrawn, Bolen charged with assault with a weapon, drug dealing

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POLSON — The case of a man facing three charges of assault with a weapon, multiple charges of burglary, robbery and theft, possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, and others, is headed to trial after he withdrew a plea agreement last week.

A dispute over $74,057 in restitution resulted in a delay in sentencing, and ultimately, to him withdrawing the plea agreement on Nov. 30.

Solomon Preston Bolen, 35, of St. Ignatius, faces separate trials for two of his cases on Jan. 17 and Feb. 21, and a bench (non-jury) trial and omnibus hearing on Jan. 6.

In District Court last week, Bolen’s attorney Britt Cotter said he hasn’t been able to interview two women from a Nov. 11, 2015 incident in which Bolen allegedly pointed a gun at them. Deputy county attorney Ben Anciaux said one of the women gave a recorded testimony, but Cotter hadn’t seen it. Judge James A. Manley ordered the state to make it available to Cotter within 30 days.

Cotter asked that Bolen, who had been in jail for 136 days as of Wednesday, be released to a woman in Casper, Wyoming, with whom Bolen had fathered a child.

Anciaux objected to the release and said the state may file an amended charge for possession of methamphetamine.

“He pointed a gun at two people and his own (foster) mother,” Anciaux said. The state was willing to have Bolen enroll in in-patient drug treatment, but not out-patient.

“He hasn’t worked in forever. He has seven children,” and has supported himself by selling drugs, Anciaux said.

Manley declined to reduce Bolen’s $100,000 bond or release him.

Last month in court, Catherine Lee McConnell said that she and her late husband were foster parents to Bolen. She said he forced her at gunpoint to sign a bill of sale for her 2002 pickup and traded it for 10 pounds of marijuana.

She also said that Bolen stole numerous items from her home on June 14, took cash from her safe and forced her to sign personal loan checks.

McConnell was upset about the plea agreement, which called for Bolen to be sentenced to three years in prison for possession of dangerous drugs and receive a one-year deferred sentence for criminal endangerment with a recommendation that he be admitted into the Nexus program, an alternative for those addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs.

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