Former UM Athlete Sentenced for Role in Assault

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A former University of Montana football player was given a two-year deferred sentence Tuesday for his role in an assault that left a fellow student with a concussion and a fractured jaw.

Andrew Douglass, 19, pleaded guilty in August to a felony charge of criminal endangerment for the Sept. 19, 2008, assault on Jesse Johnson of Olney.

A prosecutor initially charged Douglass with aggravated assault but reduced the charge after the victim’s oral surgeon said the injuries were not severe enough to constitute serious bodily injury — an element that must be proven in an aggravated assault case.

After he was charged, Douglass returned to his family’s home in Orange County, Calif., where he is attending a community college and playing football. He lost his football scholarship at UM following his arrest.

Surveillance video clearly shows Douglass and another man shadow boxing in preparation for the fight, then depicts Douglass removing his shirt and another former Griz player, Cody von Appen, punching the victim and knocking him to the ground. Douglass then hits and kicks Johnson after he has fallen.

Von Appen pleaded no contest in February to felony criminal endangerment. He was sentenced to 21 days in jail and was given a three-year deferred prison term.

Meanwhile, former Griz football player Justin Montelius pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of negligent endangerment and unlawful possession of alcohol and received a one-year deferred jail sentence. Video showed he did not participate in the fight.

Montelius has said he called von Appen and Douglass after getting into an altercation with someone on campus. But he said his teammates assaulted the wrong man when they arrived to back him up.

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