Ober designated as violent offender

A Missoula man who pleaded guilty to felony assault of a police officer was sentenced Tuesday in District Court to two years in the Montana State Prison.

However, as part of a plea arrangement, a second identical felony charge against David John Ober was reduced to a misdemeanor and the two-year prison term on the felony was suspended.

Additional six-month sentences to the Missoula County Detention Center for misdemeanor assault and driving while intoxicated were ordered to run concurrently with the felony sentence and also were suspended.

Ober tangled with police officers who responded to a report of erratic driving and possible destruction of property on Dec. 13, 1999.

When Officer Ed McLean arrived, he determined Ober was drunk and placed him under arrest, according to court documents.

When Ober was taken to the City Police Department, he refused to have his breath tested or answer questions and repeatedly told Officer McLean to shoot him.

He then asked if he'd have to wrestle the officer to get shot, and threw a container in McLean's direction, according to court documents.

Ober then grabbed McLean, pushing him back into a wall, ripping his shirt, scraping his elbow and bloodying his nose.

Mark Muir, who arrived with other officers to help McLean, was kicked in the stomach before Ober was subdued. Part of the scuffle was captured on videotape in the booking cell.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Dale Mrkich said in court Tuesday that Muir persuaded him to reduce the second felony to a misdemeanor because Muir believed the injuries to McLean justified the charge, but Muir's injuries did not.

But that, said Mrkich, didn't diminish the seriousness of the charges.

Public defender Nik Geranios argued that Ober, since he has no prior serious criminal record, deserved a deferred sentence that he could purge from his record if he stayed out of trouble for a prescribed period of time.

But District Judge John Henson, because of the injuries to McLean, designated Ober as a violent offender and fined him $1,000 on the felony charge. He was fined an additional $500 for DUI.

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