After rejecting a Butte man’s request to “fire” his public defender and get a new trial, a judge sentenced him eight years in the Montana State Prison on Thursday for stabbing another man after a brief skirmish over a broken windshield.

Prosecutor Mike Clague said the victim suffered severe damage to his spleen, pancreas and a kidney and “darn near died” after he was stabbed in the ribs by 42-year-old Jim Cassady outside of a house in October 2018.

“He used a weapon, Judge. He stabbed somebody,” Clauge said to District Judge Kurt Krueger.

On that note and with no additional words for the defendant, Krueger went along with the state’s recommendation that Cassady be sentenced to the Montana State Prison for 15 years, with seven of those years suspended.

A jury previously found Cassady guilty of felony assault with a weapon and he could have been sentenced up to 20 years. Ed Sheehy, the public defender, asked Krueger for a 15-year-suspended sentence.

According to prosecutors, the 49-year-old victim was shooting pool at the Silver Bow Athletic Club on Oct. 25, 2018 when he noticed that someone had broken the windshield in his vehicle.

He drove to a residence on Locust Street, apparently looking for Cassady, when a pickup pulled with Cassady in the passenger seat. According to the victim, he was outside of his own vehicle when Cassady got out and stabbed him.

According to driver of the pickup, the victim accused Cassady of breaking his windshield then reached through the passenger window and punched Cassady several times. Cassady then got out and confronted the victim, who suddenly made a grunting noise.

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Regardless, a jury in June found Cassady guilty of assault with a weapon.

Cassady has since tried to file motions claiming ineffective assistance of counsel and seeking a new trial and he made that request again before Krueger. He said Sheehy had declined to file the motions on his behalf.

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“I’d like to fire him and have a chance for a new attorney,” Cassady told the judge.

Sheehy said he didn’t file the motions because Cassdy wanted to claim he had used “justified force” to defend himself.

“To do that, he would have to admit that he stabbed him,” Sheehy said. “To do that, you would have to admit what you were accused of.”

Krueger denied Cassady’s request and said he could appeal the case to the Montana Supreme Court if he wished.

Before the sentence was handed down, Clague said Cassady had been a problem inmate in jail by making derogatory comments to detention officers, exposing himself to staff and urinating on the floor.

“Clearly, Mr. Cassady has a problem with authority figures,” Clague said,

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Government and politics reporter

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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