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Meth defendant awaiting new lawyer is jailed
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Meth defendant awaiting new lawyer is jailed

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Jeffrey Reuben Hausauer is having a hard time getting sentenced.

His case, which involves a methamphetamine lab and a subsequent fire, was set for sentencing a few weeks ago, but was delayed so he could talk over the sentencing possibilities in more depth with his attorney, Chief Public Defender Margaret Borg.

There was also the little issue of his continued use of meth, which District Judge John Larson told him to get under control by Thursday, his new sentencing date. Hausauer admitted that day that he used meth recently.

But when the 44-year-old Hausauer came to court Thursday, his drug use was still a problem. Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jennifer Johnson told Larson that Hausauer tested positive for meth use again this week.

That didn't go over too well with the judge. Nor did the fact that Hausauer and Borg can't communicate effectively. That disagreement led the judge to postpone the sentencing yet again so that Hausauer can have another public defender assigned to his case.

Having warned Hausauer about his continued drug use several weeks ago, Larson dropped the hammer on him Thursday. He jailed Hausauer on $100,000 bail pending his new sentencing date, Oct. 14.

Hausauer was arrested after an August 2002 fire at his home on Kennett Street. The Missoula Fire Department responded to the blaze, and an assistant fire marshal noted items he felt were part of a meth lab.

A Missoula County sheriff's detective eventually located an empty can of Heet, dry ice, Coleman fuel and hydrochloric acid, all items that can be used in the methamphetamine process. The detective also found a butane torch that had ruptured and a large amount of a white crystal-like substance that appeared to be ammonium-based fertilizer, which meth cooks often use to make anhydrous ammonia, court records state.

Despite the fact that Hausauer had admitted to an acquaintance that injuries he suffered were the result of a meth-related explosion, he took his case to trial.

He was convicted in June on a single charge of running a clandestine methamphetamine lab.

A presentence report prepared by the probation department recommends a prison sentence of 20 years with another 20 years on probation.

Reporter Michael Moore can be reached at 523-5252 or at mmoore@Missoulian.com

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