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Henifin pleads guilty to assault

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POLSON — Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set a sentencing date of Aug. 31 for a Polson man who admitted to assaulting his girlfriend. Tyler Preston Henifin, 24, entered a plea of guilty in Polson District Court July 13 to felony strangulation of a partner or family member and misdemeanor partner or family member assault. He was initially charged with felony counts of SPFM and sexual intercourse without consent, but the charges were amended as part of the plea agreement. The agreement will also dismiss one count of felony theft for a separate incident involving the same person.

According to court records, on Oct. 1, 2022, a deputy with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a woman being assaulted. At the scene, the officer noticed the victim appeared visibly upset and was crying. She told the deputy that Henifin had come over the night before. She explained that they used to be in an intimate relationship but had since broken up. She added that they were laying together watching television and she fell asleep. She says she woke up and Henifin had his arms around her. She advised him that he was crossing some boundaries and “acting like a rapist” which she said angered him. Henifin responded with “you want to see what a rapist is?” Henifin allegedly got on top of the victim and began choking her before sexually assaulting her. The deputy observed injuries to the victim’s neck and left leg. Henifin remains at liberty.

The plea agreement comes with a recommendation of a commitment to the Montana Department of Corrections for five years all suspended for felony SPFM and one year DOC all suspended for misdemeanor PFMA. The sentences will run concurrently. The judge is not bound by the agreement.

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