A Havre man was sentenced to eight years in prison after previously entering a special plea on three charges in a case that had been sent back to Havre by the state Supreme Court.
Judge David M. Ortley in state District Court in Havre sentenced Brian H. Allen, who was born in 1972, to 30 years with all but eight suspended on each of two felony counts of assault with a weapon and a felony count of criminal endangerment. Ortley ordered the sentences to run at the same time with each other and with a federal sentence stemming from the same events.
After Allen was convicted of the three counts in a trial in Havre in 2008 and sentenced to 30 years as a persistent felony offender, he appealed to the state Supreme Court. That court sent the case back to state District Court.
This spring, when entering his pleas, Allen said he was on prescription pain medication at the time of the incident, and does not have a clear recollection of what occurred. He entered Alford pleas on each count.
Under an Alford plea, the defendant does not admit to committing a crime and Allen asserted his innocence, but admitted the prosecution would likely win the case if it went to trial. Allen said that he was entering the pleas because, under the plea agreement, he would have time to get out of prison and spend time with his children before they are fully grown.
Allen was charged in February 2008 with four counts of assault with a weapon and a count of criminal endangerment, all felonies, after he was accused of cutting a man’s hand at some point between Christmas 2007 and New Year’s Day 2008, and, on Jan. 27, 2008, striking the same man with a gun while trying to collect a $250 debt.
The charges also alleged that during that incident, the gun discharged, breaking the rear window of the vehicle the group was in, leading to the criminal endagerment charge, and that Allen threatened the driver of the vehicle. A felony count of intimidation later was added, alleging Allen had made additional threats to the driver.
The first count was to be tried separately, and, after a two-day trial in October 2008, a jury convicted Allen of two counts of assault with a weapon and the count of criminal endangerment.
The jury acquitted Allen of the charges related to the driver of the vehicle.
The Hill County Attorney’s Office dismissed the first charge, removing the need for another trial.
Allen, after the first trial, pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing a firearm while a felon, stemming from accusations and evidence from the same incident.
He was convicted in 2001 to felony theft in Colorado, which prohibited him from having a firearm. He was sentenced in federal court in August 2009 on the felon-in-possession charge to 51 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for the possession of a firearm.
When he imposed the sentences last Friday, Judge Ortley ordered Allen to have no contact with the victim or witnesses in the case, to pay restitution to the victim and the owner of the vehicle in which the window was broken, and recommended to the state he be placed in treatment program, to be followed by prerelease once completing treatment.
He credited Allen with time served.