Michael Eugene Spencer

Michael Spencer testifies on his own behalf Wednesday before he was sentenced to three years in custody of state prison officials for holding a knife to his wife's throat before threatening on Facebook to kill police.

A judge sentenced a man to three years in custody of prison officials Wednesday for holding a knife to his wife’s throat before sending Facebook messages threatening to “massacre” police officers in Anaconda, causing them to surround his house for hours.

“I wish the cops would hurry I am perfectly set up to pick them off from each street corner,” Michael Eugene Spencer, 42, wrote in a Facebook conversation last April 26.

In another, he wrote, “Come on people let’s get the massacre started.”

Police formed a perimeter around his house on Alder Street in Anaconda and stayed there from midnight to 4 a.m., when they were replaced with two detectives, a captain and one officer. Spencer came out after 8:30 a.m. and was arrested with no one hurt.

Prosecutors say the night before, Spencer had struck his wife, dragged her around the house by her hair and held a knife to her throat. He even took a picture of the knife to her throat.

Spencer was charged with felony assault with a weapon, felony tampering with a witness for trying to get his wife to withhold testimony, and three misdemeanors, including obstructing a peace officer for blockading himself in his house.

He later pleaded no contest to assault with a weapon and guilty to tampering with a witness and obstructing a peace officer.

Spencer, who has a criminal record in Idaho and has done prison time in Montana, said before sentencing Wednesday that he has suffered from bipolar disorder and other mental problems but was working on them.

He said he was willing to get further help and told District Judge Ray Dayton that he apologized to officers for the incident. His public defender, Christopher Miller, suggested that his client only get a suspended sentence.

“There were no injuries, there were no shots fired,” Miller said.

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County Attorney Ben Krakowka said the threats were serious and suggested Spencer get a five-year sentence with two years suspended.

Dayton said that wasn’t enough time on supervision after release, so he sentenced him to eight years with five suspended.

“You worry me, I’ve got to tell you,” Dayton told Spencer.

It’s up to Montana Department of Corrections officials to determine how he spends the three-year commitment with them. It could include prison time, treatment programs or a combination of those.

It was Butte police who learned of the Facebook postings. They sent an “officer caution” report to Anaconda police saying Spencer had barricaded himself in his house and was threatening to shoot officers.

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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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