District Judge Joel Tingey on Monday sentenced an Ammon man to probation and jail time for firing a gun at the ground at his ex-wife’s house.
Ryan McDonald, 33, was having an argument with his ex-wife and her boyfriend outside their home when the incident began. McDonald was unhappy that his son had been put on medication without consulting him. According to Allen Browning, McDonald’s attorney, the argument escalated until the other man began assaulting McDonald.
McDonald went to his truck, grabbed a 40-caliber pistol and fired it into the ground three times.
“He didn’t shoot the gun at anybody, and he didn’t point the gun at anybody,” Browning said.
Browning said McDonald made threatening statements after firing his weapon, but argued they should not be held against him.
“This was an extreme circumstance where he was in extreme danger,” Browning said.
Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor Alayne Bean disputed Browning’s characterization of the incident, citing McDonald’s ex-wife who said McDonald was not being assaulted at the time he grabbed the gun. Witnesses also had stated McDonald pointed the gun at his ex-wife and her boyfriend.
Bean also criticized McDonald’s decision to grab a weapon instead of driving away when he reached his car, and setting a bad example for his son on how to solve problems.
“We are fortunate we are here today on just this charge, and not something more serious,” Bean said.
Browning said it was unfair for McDonald to be held responsible for teaching bad lessons, given that he was being assaulted.
“You don’t talk your way out of a beating,” Browning said.
McDonald said he regretted his choice to use the gun.
“I felt that at the time that was the best way to end the situation at hand,” McDonald said.
Tingey sentenced McDonald to four years probation with an underlying sentence of three to five years in prison. He also sentenced McDonald to 45 days in jail and a $500 fine.
“This is not a case of self-defense,” Tingey said. “You pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and that’s what this is.”
Reporter Johnathan Hogan can be reached at 208-542-6746.