Zach Newbary

Zachary Newbary, left, turns to apologize to the family of his victims in Missoula County District Judge John Larson's court Thursday as defense attorney Peter Lacny listens.  

The victim of a brutal sexual and physical assault in 2014 said Thursday she knew Zachary Brennen Newbary had anger issues long before that night.

“This isn’t the first time Zach laid hands on me. This isn’t the first time Zach raped me. (And) I’m not the first girl. I know I’m not,” she said in emotional testimony during a sentencing hearing in Missoula County District Court.

Newbary, now 21, is a former sports standout at Florence High School, where he quarterbacked the football team and placed at the state wrestling tournament.

He was 20 on Sept. 27, 2014, when he was charged with sexual intercourse without consent and aggravated assault, both felonies, after his ex-girlfriend fled a home on Schilling Street in south Missoula following what she described as a night of terror.

Newbary spent four weeks in jail before bailing out. He pleaded guilty in May and agreed to a plea deal that called for 20 years in Montana State Prison with 12 years suspended, no parole restrictions and a recommendation for placement in the Treasure State Correctional Training Center’s boot camp.

District Judge John Larson heard testimony late Thursday afternoon from the victim; her parents; Newbary’s father, Ben; the mental health and addiction counselor who evaluated Zach Newbary; and Newbary himself.

At the end of the hour, 40-minute session in the Missoula County Courthouse, Larson amended the agreement to include a parole restriction of four years, double that of the normal term for an eight-year incarceration. He gave Newbary and defense counselor Peter Lacny until Nov. 25 to decide whether to accept the sentence or go to jury trial.

The young woman reiterated in court her account to detectives of the night of horror that began when she refused to have sex with Newbary.

She said one of the things that sticks with her is being dragged through the street and hearing him tell her, “This is your last night. You’re (expletive) dead.”

The victim’s mother described in detail the bruises she saw on her daughter’s head, arms, torso and legs eight days after the assault.

“This wasn’t makeup sex or consensual sex. This was brutal assault,” she said.

She said her daughter cried just once from the time she was 13 until the night she was assaulted and raped. In the 13 months since then, she’s cried “at least 100 times, and probably more like daily. And he’s running around free.”

“There is a silver lining for us, and that’s that he didn’t kill her like he said he would,” the woman added.

His victim painted Newbary as unrepentant and a master manipulator, a man she dated for more than a year who left her confused.

“I loved Zach, and I loved his family,” she said with a sob. “It’s so hard. One minute I want to kill him and the next minute I want to give him a hug.”

“Zach is a great charismatic guy. He can get you to like him, but that doesn’t change what he’s like behind closed doors,” she added. “I’m doing this not only for me, but to protect the girls who’ll be with him in the future.”

Newbary, who has completed one phase of sexual offender treatment, sat straight-backed at a table next to Lacny, listening intently to the witnesses who often addressed him directly.

When it was his turn to speak, he stood and took a long minute, asking for a drink of water.

“It took a while to get it into my head what I had done,” he said, his voice breaking. “I was arrogant about it.”

He apologized to the victim, and turned to apologize to her family, who sat in the front row of the packed gallery, and to his own family sitting nearby.

Newbary said the time he served in the Missoula County jail “showed me the direction I was going in if I didn’t get the help I need and that people were telling me I need.”

“I don’t want to be put in this situation ever again,” he said, “and I don’t want to put my family in this situation ever again.”

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Mineral County, Veterans Issues Reporter

Reporter for The Missoulian.