Lake County Court Report

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Nov. 13

• Daniel Robert Sherwood received a two-year commitment to Montana Dept. of Corrections, with two years suspended and credit for 227 days served on a drug possession charge. The sentence was suspended due to defendant’s successful progress in drug court, to allow for continued opportunity for rehabilitation.

• Christopher James Irvine pleaded guilty to strangulation of a partner or family member, resulting in dismissal of several related charges. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 11.

• In an omnibus hearing to evaluate evidence, defense attorneys for William G. Rossbach raised the option of a self-defense plea. Charged with assault of a police officer in St. Ignatius, the defense claimed Rossbach has suffered a history of assault and being shot at by officers related to the incident and is seeking exculpatory evidence that he may have been resisting a beating. Prosecuting attorney Steve Eschenbacher said they had no further evidence to share, and that the self-defense claim cannot be used. The defense asked that charges be dismissed if the prosecution cannot provide the evidence they believe exists. The case was continued for further evidence discovery.

• Officers agreed to dismiss a charge of assault on a police officer after Samantha Marie Wardell wrote a letter of apology for the incident. On a charge of felony DUI, with blood alcohol content of .315, Wardell was released with a SCRAM alcohol monitor and received a deferred sentence for three years, with acknowledgement she is making progress in addiction treatment programs.

Nov. 20

• Richard Gordon, who had previously entered an Alford plea to felony theft and money laundering, was sentenced to two consecutive 10-year sentences in prison, with seven years suspended on each sentence. Gordon’s defense attorney Lindsey Jubain said Gordon contests the facts as stated in the charges, blame for the theft is misplaced, and Gordon shows deep respect and remorse for the victim of the theft. Speaking before sentencing, Gordon said he was guilty of accepting two stolen gold coins offered him by Joshua Wilson, and that he found art and other stolen items in a dumpster.

He expressed remorse for victim Jim Brown, and for consequences of another man charged in the same instance, Robert Staudenmayer, who Gordon claims had very little to do with it. Gordon had no criminal history, and said he “had a nice life” before he met Wilson.

“I feel awful for Mr. Brown, horrible. I wish I could apologize to him personally, and I will pay it back until the day I die,” said Gordon, whose sentence also included restitution of $1,038,035 plus several vehicles to Mr. Brown.

Most of the stolen coins have not been recovered. Wilson claims the coins were in a safe that was subsequently stolen from a shed on his property.

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