Supreme Court Won’t Allow Homicide Plea Withdrawal

By Beacon Staff

The Montana Supreme Court has denied a former Bigfork man’s request to withdraw his guilty plea for the 2007 shooting death of a Ferndale man, but the high court did order a 10-year weapons enhancement stricken from his sentence.

Ronald L. Petersen pleaded guilty to breaking into Clyde Wilson’s cabin on Dec. 31, 2007 and shooting Wilson three times. A plea agreement called for a 100-year sentence for deliberate homicide, but District Judge C.B. McNeil added 10 years because Petersen acknowledged using a firearm.

Petersen’s defense attorneys sought to withdraw his guilty plea because of the weapons enhancement.

A District Court judge in Lake County denied the appeal and the Daily Inter Lake reports the Supreme Court upheld that ruling Tuesday while also ordering the weapons enhancement be stricken.

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