Whitefish man who attacked woman with stun gun sentenced

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Aaron McGarry

A Whitefish man who attacked the mother of his children with a stun gun as she tried to call police on him from her Columbia Falls home was sentenced to 10 years with the Department of Corrections with five years suspended for felony criminal endangerment, though Flathead County District Court Judge Robert Allison expressed his deep dismay with the case last week.

Aaron Martin McGarry, 32, of Whitefish, was initially charged with felony assault with a weapon after allegedly assaulting the woman at her home in Columbia Falls in September 2019. That charge was reduced in the plea deal.

According to charging documents, dispatch received a 911 call Sept. 22 where the victim could be heard begging McGarry to stop and to let her go. Upon their arrival at the scene, police officers were informed by the victim that, after a verbal altercation, McGarry had pushed her onto a couch and shocked her three times while she attempted to call 911. The victim was unable to speak with the dispatcher until she escaped from McGarry and was able to lock herself in an adjacent bedroom.

Then when he was in jail on that charge, McGarry also threatened a detention officer, according to his pre-sentencing report.

“Wait until I catch his (expletive) ass in Wal-Mart,” McGarry allegedly said of the officer. “I’ll cut his (expletive) throat out.”

Allison noted the report also claimed that McGarry blocked a cell door so cameras and detention officers couldn’t see an assault that occurred in the jail. McGarry denied he did that, however.

McGarry’s attorney Julianne Hinchey put McGarry’s mother on the phone during the sentencing hearing. His mother is an officer in the Army in Kentucky. She told the court that she thought her son was a good person, but he had a drug problem and mental health problems that went back to his childhood.

But then Allison read the sentencing report out loud and the threat he made to the officer.

His mother said she was appalled. Allison also noted McGarry had six prior felony convictions.

He was unimpressed with the mental health argument as well, saying the way McGarry treated detention officers was “absolutely unforgivable” and “depraved garbage.”

He also lamented the county attorney’s office penchant for plea deals, and that it was putting violent people back into society.

Allison wanted to make the suspended portion of the sentence a mandatory prison sentence — an indication that he expected McGarry to get in trouble again, but that wasn’t possible under state sentencing guidelines.

“I want to apologize to the detention officers that I’m not sentencing you to prison today,” Allison told McGarry.

Allison’s sentence was double what was proposed in the plea deal.

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