Hungry Horse Man Accused of Attempting to Electrocute Woman Pleads Not Guilty

Nicholas Oberling, a local landscape artist, is charged with a felony count of criminal endangerment

By Maggie Dresser

A 59-year-old Hungry Horse man known locally for his work as a landscape artist pleaded not guilty last week to a felony count of criminal endangerment after he allegedly tried to electrocute his partner while she was in the shower on July 23.

Nicholas Oberling on Aug. 4 entered the plea in Flathead County District Court before Judge Robert B. Allison. He remains in Flathead County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond. 

According to charging documents, the reporting party was taking a shower when she received a “big shock” after grabbing soap from the soap dish. After dropping the soap on the floor, she found a wire in the soap dish with the plastic coating stripped back about three inches.

When deputies arrived, they found the wire extending through the opposite side of the wall and through a drywall patch that ran toward an outlet. The wire was not plugged into the outlet at the time, but law enforcement observed that the wire was bent around other stripped wires that exposed bare copper and were plugged into the outlet.

After the woman was shocked, she called Oberling to ask him what he had done, records state. She told investigators that Oberling came to the residence and told her he was trying to shock her. He then tried to take her phone, causing a fight, the allegations state. Oberling is scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 12. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in the Montana State Prison.

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