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Paul Ekstedt

Paul Ekstedt

The 27-year-old Missoula man charged with hitting Missoula Special Olympics athlete Gary Fuller in the head with a baseball bat in an allegedly unprovoked attack pleaded not guilty Thursday to his felony charge.

Paul Ekstedt and Fuller were heading to dinner in mid-June when Ekstedt hit Fuller in the head with a baseball bat, according to court records. Witnesses told investigators there had been no argument between the pair before the incident, filings said.

Ekstedt was charged with assault with a weapon, and pleaded not guilty Thursday in Missoula County District Court, according to prosecutor Brittany Williams.

Fuller — a well-known local Special Olympics athlete who serves on the state board of directors for the games — was hospitalized with serious injuries and underwent emergency surgery after the assault, but has since been released.

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Ekstedt’s next court appearance, an omnibus hearing, was set for Aug 23. He remains in jail on a $100,000 bail.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.