Posted: Dec 18, 2012 9:12 AM by Tara Oster - MTN News
KALISPELL - A 21-year-old Kalispell man who shot at a Flathead County sheriff's deputy last year was sentenced Monday in Flathead District Court to 40 years in prison, with 30 years suspended.
Bryson Connolly, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, had been under the influence of MDPV, more commonly known as bath salts.
A doctor who testified for Connolly's defense said the drug is worse than methamphetamine, and at the time he believes Connolly was in a chemically induced psychosis and unable to control his actions.
Connolly has a long history of substance abuse starting at age 10.
Court records say that in August 2011, Deputy Roger Schiff attempted to pull over Connolly's vehicle after responding to a disturbance with weapons at a residence on Patrick Creek Road earlier that afternoon.
Schiff spotted Connolly's vehicle heading down Airport Road and tried to stop the car, but Connolly drove down Kacu Lane, got out of his car and started firing an AK-47 at Schiff.
The patrol car was struck several times with bullets, but Schiff only received minor injuries from flying glass. Connolly fled the scene but was arrested later that night.
He said he doesn't remember shooting at Schiff or running away.
Prosecutors asked Judge Stewert Stadler for a sentence of 65 years with Connolly being required to serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.
Connolly's defense attorney, Jack Quatman, told the court his client needed a short prison sentence with mandatory treatment through the NEXUS Program which is a state-run methamphetamine treatment center located in Lewistown.
Just before sentencing, Connolly asked to make a statement.
"First and foremost, to Deputy Schiff and his family, I am sorry. I would like to apologize for what I've done. I do not know why I shot at Deputy Schiff. I have no memory of the event. I thank God every day that no one was injured. It was truly a miracle," he said.
Judge Stewert Stadler sentenced Connolly to 40 years in prison with 30 suspended for attempted deliberate homicide. Connolly also received a 10-year sentence for assault on a peace officer which will run concurrent with his other sentence.
Stadler said Connolly must serve the entire 10 years before becoming eligible for parole and also recommended the completion of the NEXUS Program.