Paradise man jailed after alleged Christmas day assault

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A Paradise man is lodged in the Sanders County Detention Center after authorities said he beat up his wife on Christmas day.

Sean Austin Smith is facing two felony charges, including strangulation and assault with a weapon, as well as two misdemeanor counts of partner or family member assault.

Smith has remained in the jail since Christmas day 2019 on $150,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty to the offenses Jan. 14 in front of District Judge James A. Manley.

Smith also pleaded guilty Jan. 15 to aggravated driving under the influence in relation to a Sept. 18, 2019 incident when he drove drunk with his 8-year-old son in the front seat of the vehicle. Smith received a 1-year suspended sentence and was given credit for time served.

A field sobriety test indicated Smith had a blood alcohol level of 0.181 at the time he drove drunk with his child in the vehicle.

In the Christmas day assault, the case began when a Sanders County Sheriff Department officer responded to the Clark Fork Valley Hospital to assist a Plains Police officer in response to a domestic violence call.

The victim had cuts on her hands and head, a large swollen area on her forehead, a concussion, and possible broken or cracked ribs. There was also blood on her clothing, swelling and redness to her throat and several other abrasians and bruises. The Sheriff’s Department officer noted the woman had trouble breathing due to her injured ribs.

The woman said she and her husband, Smith, had been physical with each other before, but she said “not like this, this time he wanted to kill me, he said it, he “wanted to kill me.”

The woman made it to the hospital along with her two sons and daughter. She also said she had to hide on the way to the hospital because Smith was driving around in a white Chevy truck.

One son said he could hear his mother throwing up downstairs while he was upstairs.

After the Plains police officer left to search for the accused man, the Sheriff’s officer spoke to the woman, who said a gun was used, a .308 rifle. Smith didn’t fire the gun, but the officer alerted others he may have it with him.

Soon after, the Plains police officer reported having Smith in custody. The woman said that Smith had started a verbal altercation with her at their home in Paradise. She said she and her husband were going to have drinks with a few friends. They then ended up back at home and continued to drink.

The argument then turned physical and the woman said Smith struck her several times, kicked her in the stomach, bashed her head against the toilet, wall and shower wall. She also said he choked her a few times and that he held her head under water while water was running in the bath tub. She also said he held the .308 rifle to her head and said Smith said he was going kill her and himself.

She also said that at one point, she picked up the youngest child because that would “usually make him stop” but that Smith continued to hit her while she held the infant.

Smith pleaded not guilty Jan. 14. He has a bail reduction hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Smith faces a total of 27 years in the Montana State prison is he is convicted on all charges.

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