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Court records: Cribbage game leads to baseball bat assault

Court records: Cribbage game leads to baseball bat assault

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A cribbage game allegedly gone sideways last September landed one man in the hospital and another charged with felony assault.

According to charging documents filed Monday by Missoula County prosecutors, Missoula police officers responded in September to the 700 block of South First Street West for reports of a man bleeding from his head. The apparent victim was stumbling in the roadway when officers arrived, and said he was at Scott Szwaja's house "when suddenly a disturbance took place during a game of cribbage."

The man said Szwaja accused him of stealing $15 during the game and threw the man's belongings out the front door. After he went outside to retrieve his items, the man told police he turned back toward the door to get his shoes and was struck in the head, briefly blacking out and bleeding from the head, according to court documents.

The man was transported to Providence St. Patrick Hospital but reportedly left, against doctor's orders, without getting stitches, according to court records.

In an interview with detectives in November, Szwaja said the man and another friend were staying over at Szwaja's house that night, according to court records. The man wanted to play cribbage, so they played three games and the man got angry when he lost the third game. Szwaja said the man became "boisterous," so Szwaja subsequently became agitated, asked him to  leave and threw his things out the front door, according to court documents.

Szwaja said he grabbed a small bat and, when the man began come back in the house, he struck him once in the head — not to hurt him but to "bring his senses back," according to court documents. Szwaja told the detective it was possible the man was coming back for his shoes, according to court documents.

Szwaja, whose age was not listed in court documents, was charged in Missoula County District Court on Feb. 10 with assault with a weapon, a felony that carries a possible 20-year prison term. 

He has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

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