MISSOULA – A man was sentenced to 12 years in prison after assaulting a well-known Montana Special Olympian with a baseball bat.
Paul Ekstedt, 27, was sentenced to 20 years in a Montana State penitentiary with eight suspended by Judge John Larson on Friday after he pleaded guilty to assaulting special Olympian Gary Fuller.
That assault happened in June and left Fuller in the hospital with extensive head injuries.
Fuller’s mother and sister were both in court to testify and said that Fuller came extremely close to losing his life or becoming permanently brain damaged.
Fuller’s family said it was a trying time for the family and that they are lucky to still have Gary with them.
“It was such an emotional roller coaster those first few days,” Fuller’s sister Heather Conrad said. “Taking victory where we could, whether it was seeing Gary open his eyes, having him sleep soundly for a few hours, having him recognize us, was nothing short of a miracle.”
Ekstedt initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea after agreeing to a plea deal with the county attorney’s office.
By Connor McCauley – MTN News