A man accused of inflicting a fatal injury to his roommate during a brawl has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
James Moen, 28, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. District Court Judge Gary Haman on Friday gave Moen credit for 291 days served in jail awaiting trial. Moen also was sentenced to three years probation, during which he’s not allowed to drink alcohol.
Moen beat Mark Jones, 46, with a shotgun butt during an argument Jan. 20 at the State Motel on Sherman Avenue, according to police. The blows cut Jones’ spleen.
Police were called to the loud argument, but Jones declined to press charges and seemed fine, police said. In fact, he was bleeding to death, and died at Kootenai Medical Center the following morning.
Deputy Prosecutor Tracy Post said the plea bargain was unavoidable. The trial, which was originally scheduled for last June, was pushed back six months, she said. In the interim, prosecutors lost contact with two key witnesses. Two other witnesses were arrested on felony charges, she said, tainting their testimony.
“We just had witness problems,” she said. “It was just a very frustrating case.”