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Man pleads no contest to assault for pointing gun at wife

Apr 16, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A Lander-area man pleaded no contest March 20 in Lander District Court to aggravated assault for pointing a gun at his wife Oct. 25. The defendant, Harold Dean Porter, made the plea in line with a plea agreement with deputy county attorney Tom Majdic. The deal dropped four other charges.

District Court Judge Norman E. Young had no concerns with the plea agreement but said he would decide whether to accept it after receiving a presentence investigation. He also will set a sentencing date when he has the document.

"There's nothing on the face of this that offends me," Young said.

For purposes of disposition and sentencing, a no-contest plea is treated like a guilty one.

Dan Caldwell, a lawyer for the defendant, said Porter could not plead guilty because he was drunk Oct. 25 and did not remember the events in question.

Young asked if Porter would accept the facts laid out in an affidavit by investigators.

Porter choked back tears and responded, "Yes, sir."

Porter's four previous felony convictions mean the sentencing range for aggravated assault is 10 to 50 years in prison. His plea agreement, however, limits his penalty to 12 to 15 years.

Two of the dropped charges were related to 11 firearms the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported finding at Porter's home. The charges were possession of a firearm by a person convicted of a felony offense, and possession, manufacture or disposition of a deadly weapon with unlawful intent.

One charge of forgery and one of fraud were filed in a second case against Porter, but those were both dropped inline with the deal. The agreement would have Porter pay $5,000 restitution in the second case.

October incident

According to an affidavit in the case, the defendant's wife, Bonita Porter, told a sheriff's deputy her husband and a friend were drinking Oct. 25 at home while her grandchildren were sleeping in a bedroom in the residence.

She got in an argument with her husband, and he got a gun and pointed it at her. Bonita Porter said she screamed, and her grandson came from his bedroom and stood in the room she and her husband were in.

Harold Porter pointed the gun at the grandson and told him to get back to bed, Bonita Porter said.

One of the grandsons reportedly confirmed the story.

Bonita Porter and the grandson reportedly identified the gun the defendant used from the weapons federal agents seized.

When it was found, the revolver was loaded with six .22-caliber hollow-point rounds.

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