RIGBY — A Jefferson County man was given probation Monday for threatening another man with a gun over a cattle dispute.
Andrew L. Clark, 28, was sentenced to three years of probation for felony aggravated assault and was ordered to undergo anger management treatment. Clark entered an Alford plea in August as part of a plea agreement that dropped the use of deadly weapon enhancement charge.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea where the defendant acknowledges that a jury would likely find them guilty based on the evidence but maintains that they did not commit the crime.
“I want to say sorry for this situation and affecting the lives of the people that were involved,” Clark said during sentencing.
Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Butikofer said they are willing to work with Clark and his attorney in case his probation conflicts with his military service.
“I’m hoping you can get through this without it affecting your military service,” District Judge Stevan Thompson said during the hearing.
As part of the conditions of probation, Thompson ordered Clark to undergo anger management treatment.
“It is a very disturbing thing that happened. I appreciate the fact that you have a lot of support, that you’ve served the country and I thank you for that. But that doesn’t excuse what happened here. In fact, it almost made it more aggravating. That you, with the kind of firearms training you have, would ever think that it’s necessary to take a gun out when there are cows in your yard,” Thompson said.
Police reports show on April 1, an employee of Fosters Land and Cattle received word that cattle were out and he went to the area to retrieve the animals, according to court documents. The employee found the cows and then encountered Clark. The employee told police Clark said the following:
“Andrew said to (the employee), ‘Get these f****** cows off my property or we will have more problems. Get these f****** cows out of here, or else I’ll start flinging lead. I’ll drop them. You have 10 f****** minutes to get these f****** cows off my f****** property, or they will be full of holes,’” court documents state.
The employee said Clark then pointed a gun at his face.
When police interviewed Clark he told them a different story and has maintained that his version of events is the truth.
In his statement, Clark said he saw the cows enter the property, and contacted the owners to come retrieve them. He admitted telling the employee that he would shoot the cows if they weren’t removed. During an encounter with the employee, Clark said he told the ranch hands that he had nothing against them.
No shots were fired during the incident.
“Regardless of how you held the gun or anything of that nature. Just the fact that you would have that firearm out there because there were cattle on your yard is totally inexcusable,” Thompson said.
Thompson withheld judgment. Meaning, if Clark abides by the terms of probation, the conviction will not go onto his record.