Man Pleads No Contest in Ronan Bar Death

By Beacon Staff

POLSON – A Ronan man accused of stabbing another man to death in a Ronan bar pleaded no contest Monday to negligent homicide.

Allen Metzger was originally charged with murder for the Aug. 16 stabbing death of 50-year-old James Finch. Charging documents say Metzger told officers Finch hit him over the head in the bathroom of the Valley Club and Bar so he pulled out a knife and swung it.

Metzger’s plea deal will not require him to serve any more jail time for the stabbing. He had spent 100 days in the Lake County Detention Center before he posted $25,000 bail in December.

County Attorney Mitch Young said he had to play the hand dealt to him by the last Montana Legislature, which changed the rules governing self-defense cases.

Previously, defendants claiming they acted in self-defense had to prove they did so. The new law shifts the burden of proof to the state, which to gain a conviction must now prove a defendant did not act in self-defense.

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