POLSON – A teenager who allegedly stabbed another teen multiple times over the weekend here has been released into his parents’ custody and allowed to return to school pending the possible filing of formal charges.
Polson Assistant Chief of Police John Stevens said officers responded to a report of a fight on 10th Avenue West in Polson at about 9 p.m. Saturday and found a 17-year-old male who had been stabbed several times.
The victim was taken to nearby St. Joseph Medical Center and then transferred to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, where he underwent surgery early Sunday.
The boy’s father, Ron Duncan, said Tuesday his son was stabbed a total of six times, four times in the chest, once in the arm and once in the back. Duncan asked that his son not be named.
“It barely missed his heart, damaged his liver and they removed his spleen,” said Duncan, who added he didn’t believe it was right that the other boy allegedly involved in the fight had been allowed to return to his home and school.
“They found blood in the sac around his heart and had to open him up to make sure he hadn’t got his heart, too,” Duncan said of his son’s injuries. “They had to cut him open from two to three inches below his belly button up to his neck.”
Stevens said officers soon located the alleged stabber, also 17, on Saturday and arrested him for aggravated assault “to get him into the system.”
The boy was transferred to a juvenile detention facility in Missoula and returned to Polson on Monday for a juvenile detention hearing before Justice of the Peace Chuck Wall. His name has not been released.
Wall said the investigating officer testified under oath that, if asked whether he believed the boy with the knife was the aggressor or acting in self-defense, he would have to say self-defense at that point of the investigation.
That testimony, Wall said, was key to his decision. Coupled with the fact that the incident remains under investigation by Polson police and no formal charges have yet been filed, and the accused has no significant criminal history, Wall said he released the teen into his parents’ custody.
The boy reportedly attends Two Eagle River School in Pablo.
The justice of the peace also noted the boy would have been incarcerated for well over a week before his next court appearance, as opposed to the normal two to three days, because members of the Lake County Juvenile Probation Office are in Helena for training this week.
If not at home or school, the boy must be accompanied by a parent at all times and have no contact with the victim or his family, among other restrictions.
Duncan told the Missoulian the two boys had an ongoing feud that, he said, hadn’t escalated beyond name-calling until Saturday night.
Duncan said the accused attacker was claiming he’d been jumped by three boys that night, but that his son said the incident involved only the two of them.
“I totally believe he tried to kill him,” Duncan said of the alleged stabber. “It was pretty savage.”
Stevens said once the investigation is complete the report will be turned over to the Lake County Attorney’s Office to decide what, if any, charges are filed.
Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.