Convicted kidnapper gets deferred sentence
A convicted kidnapper will spend three years on probation and have the chance to clear his record of the crime, despite having violated a judge’s orders prior to sentencing by going on the run and picking up another felony charge.
Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde said last Thursday in district court that she felt obligated to honor the plea agreement in place prior to Andrew Foster’s new crime due to a technicality.
Specifically, the plea agreement documents signed by Rohde, Foster and Foster’s attorney inadvertently did not contain a standard paragraph that states a prosecutor can withdraw from the agreement if the defendant violates any court orders prior to being sentenced.
District Court Judge Blair Jones asked Department of Corrections (DOC) Probation/Parole Officer Brad Pinnick if he agreed with the sentencing recommendation. After a brief pause, Pinnick said he agreed with “community placement.”
Jones honored the plea agreement, handing down a 3-year deferred sentence for one felony count of kidnapping and a 6-month jail sentence for one misdemeanor count of Family/Partner Member Assault (PFMA). The sentences will run concurrently and Foster was also given credit for 120 days he has already been in jail.
“I’m sorry. I kinda regret some of the stupid decisions that I’ve made,” said Foster about his crimes.
Jones agreed with him.
“You’ve made really poor choices,” said Jones.
Under the deferred sentence, that felony conviction could be cleared from Foster’s record if he stays out of trouble for three years.
However, that may already be in jeopardy, as he is facing a new charge of felony bail jumping.
NEW BAIL JUMPING CASE
Just before being sentenced in the kidnapping case, Foster made an initial appearance on the bail jumping charge, answering with a barely audible “not guilty” when asked for his plea.
The details of that case are as follows: Foster was released from the Yellowstone County Detention Facility in July after entering into a plea agreement on the kidnapping case. Shortly thereafter, he disappeared, failing to stay in touch with his attorney and failing to contact DOC for a presentence interview, according to documents for an arrest warrant that were filed in September.
Foster was arrested in the Billings area on Sept. 23, with bond on the Stillwater County warrant set at $25,000.
At last week’s hearing, Rohde requested that the bond amount be kept, while defense attorney Greg Paskell lobbied for an “OR” (own recognizance) release. Jones said he would allow the OR release only if Foster was fitted with a GPS prior to leaving the jail. Paskell said the state would have to pay for that, as Foster obviously hasn’t been working.
Jones rejected that request, saying Foster or his family would have to come up with the money.
“I’m not in favor of just turning him loose,” said Jones, mentioning Foster’s history as well as a concern for the safety of the community.
As of Wednesday, Oct. 25, Foster remained jailed.
In April, Foster “took command” of his ex-girlfriend’s vehicle and held the woman and the couple’s infant in the locked vehicle against their will by engaging the child safety locks in the back doors. Both of the front doors were broken and could not be opened from the inside, according to court documents.
Foster committed the PFMA when he physically restrained the victim using violent force as she was attempting to escape, according to court documents.
The victim told police she had seen Foster riding his bike in downtown Billings and agreed to give him a ride to his mother’s home. She said Foster asked her for a hug and when she refused, he forced his way back into the vehicle, took her keys and cell phone and told her “that he was kidnapping her and their daughter and taking them to Mexico because there are no laws in Mexico,” according to court documents.
The victim said she made a sign that read “HELP — CALL 911” but that Foster saw it and threw it — along with her phone — out the window. She finally grabbed the steering wheel, causing Foster to drive off I-90 due to a flat tire near the Park City area.
A Stillwater County deputy and Columbus police officer who were looking for a different vehicle saw the car around 4:06 p.m. at mile marker 411. A 911 call also came into dispatch around that time about a “rolling domestic” involving a man, a woman and an infant, according to Stillwater County Sheriff’s dispatch records.
When a deputy and Columbus police officer arrived on scene, they found Foster on top of the victim fighting and the victim screaming. The deputy pointed his gun at Foster and ordered him to stop, which he did, according to court documents.