A man was sentenced Friday for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and a police officer, attacks that prosecutors say took place within hours of the man’s release from jail in January.
Appearing in District Court, Henry James Olson apologized and said he is taking steps to address his anger issues.
“This could easily have turned into a situation where there could have been a significant injury or death,” Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Ingrid Rosenquist said.
District Judge Ingrid Gustafson followed the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation and issued a sentence totaling 15 years to the state Department of Corrections, with 10 years suspended for counts of aggravated assault and assault on a peace officer.
The judge told Olson that while he doesn’t have a substantial criminal history, he does have a clear pattern of ongoing anger issues, including “terrorizing” his ex-girlfriend.
“That is very concerning to me,” Gustafson said.
As recommended in Olson’s plea agreement, the judge dismissed a count of aggravated kidnapping and criminal mischief.
Billings police arrested Olson after responding to a kidnapping report in the area of the Hilltop Inn and Airport Road at about 12:45 p.m. on Jan. 21, according to charging documents.
A caller reported that a man had forced a woman into a white Oldsmobile.
The officers learned that Olson had possession of the car described by the caller.
Police also learned that Olson was on pre-trial supervision — and that he had brought his girlfriend to a meeting with his probation officer after being released from the county jail earlier that same day.
Officers went to Olson’s address on the 1800 block of Highway 87 East and reported seeing the man slowly cruising by the residence with a female passenger.
They arrested Olson at gunpoint and assisted his female passenger, who court records say had scratches and bruising on her neck and appeared to be in shock. The woman told police she had broken up with Olson about a week earlier and that he had come to see her after his release from jail.
She said Olson forced her into a car and choked her until she nearly passed out after she refused to get back together with him.
Olson then took her to his meeting with his probation officer, telling her to put on a hoodie to hide the injuries to her neck and to tell the probation officer she was sad about some letters she had read, according to prosecutors.
At the jail, an officer told Olson that as required by law he wouldn’t be allowed to have contact with his ex-girlfriend.
Olson replied, “Then I have to do this by law” and grabbed the officer’s digital recorder and broke it, court documents state.
He proceeded to struggle with officers, kicking one of them in the groin.