The 18-year-old charged in the shooting of two people he says jumped him in a bad drug deal near Sentinel High School has agreed to plead guilty in the case.
A plea agreement filed in Missoula District Court on Monday shows Dylan Conat will plead guilty to felony criminal endangerment in exchange for a five-year commitment with the Montana Department of Corrections, subject to adult probation.
All five years would be suspended, and he would be given credit for eight months already served at the Missoula County jail.
On Tuesday, Judge John Larson filed an order setting the change of plea hearing for May 16.
Conat was charged with assault with a weapon after allegedly shooting two other juvenile boys on the Sentinel High School campus last year. In some remarkable testimony during an October hearing, Conat described the entire event in detail, painting a picture of self-defense in a drug deal gone awry.
From the witness stand, Conat said he walked up to two boys he did not know at Southgate Mall and asked if they wanted to buy some marijuana. The boys, whose names the Missoulian is withholding because they are under 18, said they didn’t, but knew someone who did, and they were waiting at the high school nearby.
As the trio walked toward the school, Conat said he felt the other boys acting shifty, walking behind him in a suspicious manner. When they got to the school grounds, he said they jumped him. “Now,” the first teen said, according to Conat, as the second punched him in the head and knocked him down.
“There were two against one, so I didn’t necessarily think they would stop when I told them to stop,” Conat said in the October hearing. “I retrieved my firearm from my pocket and aimed in the vicinity of (the second teen).”
Conat said two shots fired from the pistol when the teen closest to him tried wrestling it away; prosecutors, however, contend law enforcement found four rounds from the gun when processing the scene.
After the shots, Conat said he dropped the gun, pushed his backpack toward the teens since the gun was now aimed at him, and ran. The two boys were taken to the hospital, one shot in the face and the other in the chest. Both survived, and one was arrested after release from medical care on an out-of- state warrant, the Missoulian reported at the time.
Conat was arrested several weeks later at an apartment building on the 2300 block of 55th Street.
As part of the agreement with prosecutors, Conat would be required to enter and remain in an aftercare program after taking a chemical dependency evaluation by a state-approved treatment provider. He also would have to obtain a mental health evaluation and counseling.
The recommended sentence in the plea agreement would run concurrent to the sentence coming in a juvenile case. In that matter, Conat allegedly showed another person a gun and pepper sprayed that person when they threatened to report him to the police.
The change of plea hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. May 16.