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Solway man sentenced on weapons charge

BEMIDJI -- In a downward departure from sentencing guidelines, Beltrami District Judge Shari Schlucter sentenced a Solway man to 60 days in jail for actions that included a short, armed standoff with police in September.

Jeffrey Wayne Wilson, 57, was sentenced Aug. 13, and was placed on four years probation after being convicted of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both. A sentence of three years at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility was stayed four years.

On Sept. 30, deputies with the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office responded to Wilson's home in Jones Township. There, a woman described as a "concerned citizen" witnessed Wilson hold a gun to another woman's neck and threatened to shoot her, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney's Office.

The woman said both Wilson and the victim had been drinking that day, with Wilson's behavior becoming increasingly erratic, according to court documents. At one point, the witness told police, Wilson emerged from the home with two pistols, confronting the victim as their argument became more heated.

When the victim told Wilson "if you want to shoot me, do it now" he became more angry, the witness said, grabbing the victim by the hair and putting the barrel of the gun to the victim's throat. Wilson would later strike the victim, according to the witness, who said the sound of the victim's "head striking the concrete was very loud."

When police arrived, Wilson was still holding the pistols, the complaint stated. After a short standoff, he dropped the weapons, but continued to be combative. Police eventually took Wilson down with a taser and arrested him.

Wilson served nine days in the Beltrami County Jail, for which he was given credit toward his 60-day sentence. In lieu of paying a $1,000 fine, Wilson was given the opportunity to perform community service.

Wilson's attorney, Blake Hankey of Hankey Law in Grand Forks, N.D., said positive character references, including a letter written by a Wadena County sheriff's deputy, played a role in the reduced sentence.

"Between the reference letters, the fact that he was out on bond this whole time, the fact he abided by a no-contact order with his wife, which was very difficult, as well as his amenability to probation, I think those factors all played a role," Hankey said.

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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