Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gun charges lead to probation

Judge orders treatment for Bellevue woman

Express Staff Writer

Lynda Kay Barbee

A Bellevue woman accused of threatening her adult son with a loaded handgun was placed on three years probation Tuesday following guilty pleas to two misdemeanor offenses.

Lynda Kay Barbee, 50, was originally charged with felony aggravated assault for a gun incident at her home last September on Tendoy Street in northwest Bellevue. She was also charged with three misdemeanors: one count of exhibition of a deadly weapon and two counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits.

In accord with a plea agreement with the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Barbee pleaded guilty on Jan. 5 to exhibition of a deadly weapon and unlawful discharge of a firearm within city limits in exchange for dismissal of the other two charges.

At Tuesday's sentencing hearing, Magistrate Court Judge Jason Walker advised Barbee that she could be sentenced to up to 210 days in jail on the two charges, but decided instead to place her on probation.

Walker followed the recommendation of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback, who reported that Barbee had no prior criminal record but suffers from ill health and psychological and alcohol-abuse issues.

Walker further ordered that Barbee undergo psychological and substance-abuse evaluation and treatment as a condition of probation.

Regardless of her health issues, the judge advised Barbee that a jail sentence was an option if probation fails.

"I want to make it very clear that there's no such thing as a poor candidate for jail," Walker told the defendant. "You need to understand that."

The charges against Barbee date to the morning of Sept. 16 when about a dozen local police vehicles responded to a report of shots fired at Barbee's home. Police surrounded the home for about two and a half hours before entering it at about 8 a.m. and taking Barbee into custody.

Fredback said at Tuesday's hearing that Barbee had come home earlier intoxicated, became upset and fired shots into the ceiling of the home.

"She pointed the gun in the general direction of her son and waved it around," Fredback said. The son's age was not available but Fredback told the Idaho Mountain Express earlier that the man is in his 20s.

Fredback also said in court that Barbee is a "low risk to the community" but added that during the gun incident "she put her family and everyone around her that night in danger."

Defense attorney Christopher Simms told the court that his client is currently "surviving on Social Security," that she was previously married to a doctor but that her life has been falling apart since a divorce several years ago.

Terry Smith:

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