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Polson man makes plea deal

Plea resolves most charges for armed standoff incident

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POLSON — A Polson man who was involved in an armed stand-off with police and caused the residents of a trailer court to evacuate their homes, has entered a plea agreement that could resolve most of the criminal matters stemming from the incident. Edward Dale Hardy, 63, entered a plea of guilty at District Court in Polson on Oct. 7 to one count of felony assault with a weapon. The plea agreement calls for felony charges of kidnapping and criminal endangerment to be dismissed at sentencing.

According to court records, on July 8, Polson police responded to the Bellevue Trailer Court along U.S. Highway 93 in Polson after a woman called 911 to report her boyfriend had fired his weapon inside the residence and was refusing to let her leave. Other residents of the trailer court also reported hearing shots fired. A responding Polson police officer approached the trailer where the disturbance was reported and noticed two bullet holes. The officer retreated to his patrol unit. About that same time, the woman who first reported the shooting, was back on the phone with 911 dispatchers. She indicated that her boyfriend, later identified as Hardy, was now barricading himself inside the trailer home. She also said Hardy told her to say he had explosives inside the home. Area residents were forced to evacuate their homes as a precaution. Police were eventually able to negotiate the woman’s release as multiple other law enforcement agencies responded to assist. Hardy was able to escape his house through a window. A Polson police officer subdued Hardy as he was attempting to enter his vehicle. Police would later find what was described in court as a pipe bomb inside Hardy’s home.

Prosecutor Molly Owen with the Lake County Attorney’s office says the plea agreement calls for a joint recommendation of 20 years with the Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended.

Judge John W. Larson of Missoula, who presided over the case via the Zoom platform, set sentencing for Dec. 2. Hardy remains in the Lake County jail with bail set at $100,000.

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