I'm live in Gallatin County District Court where Mark Logan is scheduled to be sentenced for a 2011 stabbing at a Gallatin Gateway bar.
Logan pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal that calls for a 3-year suspended prison sentence.
Logan previously served 3 years in prison for a manslaughter charge. In that case, Logan stabbed a coworker to death during a drunken fight.
Logan's victim, Zane Rentfro, is in the courtroom along with his wife.
Marty Lambert is the prosecutor on the case.
While plea agreement has been reached in Logan's case, Judge John Brown may reject the agreement, allow Logan to w/draw his no contest plea.
Logan previously served about 19 months while his case had been pending. But he posted bail in June 2013 & has been out ever since.
It's quiet in the courtroom while awaiting Judge John Brown to come in.
Judge John Brown is here. Court is in session. Brown is going over the pre-sentence investigation w/ Logan's defense attorney.
Logan is represented by Pat Flaherty out of Great Falls.
There have been changes to the plea agreement, Lambert tells Brown.
The new plea agreement still calls for 3 years suspended, but it includes supervised probation this time around.
Lambert said he will have some testimony today. He submits to Brown letters from Rentfro and his family.
Ed Moriarity is Lambert's first witness. Moriarity is Zane Rentfro's step father.
Moriarity is talking about Logan's past manslaughter conviction, said he didn't find record that Logan had registered as violent offender.
Moriarity: This is one of the things, your honor, that I can’t stand - the attitude of the prosecuting attorney.
Moriarity: With the history of having killed someone else and been found guilty, Logan is permitted to enter into a plea bargain.
Moriarity: “Plea bargain is well named because it is a big time bargain for Mr. Logan in this case.”
Moriarity: My son is a good man.
Moriarity is reading a letter that his wife wrote to the judge.
Rentfro's family asks Brown to intervene. "Do not let a killer walk out of here just registered as a violent offender," Zane's mom wrote.
Moriarity talking about suffering his son has gone through. "He can’t sleep at night. He is in constant fear."
Moriarity: "You can out of necessity stab someone once, but not six times.”
Moriarity: Zane Rentfro did not agree to this plea agreement.
Defense attorney Pat Flaherty is now questioning Moriarity.
Moriarity: I don't think a very good job was done on the state's side for agreeing to plea deal.
No more testimony for the state. Flaherty has no testimony either. Lambert now giving recommendations.
Lambert's rec: 3 years all suspended, supervised probation, no restitution, credit for 590 days served, register as violent offender.
Flaherty: This is a sad day....One reason Mark asked me to enter into plea negotiations is he has empathy for the victim.
Flaherty: We tried to save the victim and the state from another trial.
Flaherty: Nobody’s walked in his shoes, but he’s paid.
Logan: I know Marty’s got a tough job here and he’s had to make some tough decisions and my heart goes out to him.
Logan: I hope some healing can take place now and some closure.
Court is in recess while Brown takes a break before giving his sentence.
Court is back in session. Brown will now deliver Logan's sentence.
Brown is going over the procedural history of Logan's case.
Brown: Even though state called 28 witnesses, and defense called none, evidence was insufficient to convict Logan in 1st trial.
Brown said he will accept the plea agreement in Logan's case.
Brown: believe evidence is insufficient to prove Logan is guilty w/ assault w/ weapon beyond reasonable doubt.
Brown said plea agreement gives certainty. "Justice in this case requires certainty.”
Brown: This case is about what happened in Gallatin Gateway in 2011, not what happened in Kentucky in 1998. (manslaughter conviction)
Sentence: 3-years in prison with the entirety of it suspended.
Logan ordered to pay court fees totaling $185.
A condition of Logan's sentence includes not contacting Rentfro and his family.
Logan must register as a violent offender.
Logan receives credit for 590 days previously served.
With the credit for time served, Logan will have to serve about 17 months on probation.