Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Man gets prison for pointing gun at cop

Bellevue resident sentenced to up to 5 years behind bars

Express Staff Writer

    More than a dozen Hailey, Bellevue and Blaine County police officers attended a Blaine County 5th District Court hearing on Monday to witness sentencing for a Bellevue man who earlier admitted to pointing a handgun at a policeman.
    The officers seemed satisfied that 49-year-old Tad Shawn Mutum received a five-year prison sentence. Judge Robert J. Elgee gave Mutum credit for some eight months already spent in jail, but ordered that Mutum receive a two-year fixed and three-year indeterminate prison sentence.
    Elgee followed the recommendation of Blaine County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback, who argued that Mutum intended to shoot Bellevue Deputy Kyle Skuza last summer. The judge rejected a defense argument that Mutum instead drew the gun on Skuza because he wanted to commit “suicide by cop.”
    The case against Mutum arose on June 18, 2013, after Skuza had arrested Mutum for misdemeanor DUI. Mutum, who had a small .22 caliber pistol hidden in a cell phone case, was able, even though handcuffed, to pull the gun, pivot his body and point the weapon at Skuza while Skuza was attempting to remove him from a police vehicle at the Blaine County jail.
    Skuza acted quickly, knocking the gun out of the way, sweep-kicking Mutum knocking him to the ground and holding him down until assistance arrived from Blaine County deputies.
    Mutum pleaded guilty in November 2013 to misdemeanor DUI and the felony charge of aggravated assault on a police officer.
    Ketchum attorney Andrew Parnes, assigned as public defender, said at Monday’s hearing that his client has “mental health issues,” was despondent, highly intoxicated and irrational the day of the incident. Parnes noted that the gun was not cocked when Mutum pointed it at Skuza.
    “The reality is this wasn’t preplanned,” Parnes said. “Here is a person who is under the influence. He’d just been arrested for DUI. He pointed it at the officer hoping the officer would kill him.”
    Elgee noted that the incident would not have occurred had Mutum been more thoroughly “frisked” when placed under arrest.

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