A 24-year-old Billings man was given a five-year suspended prison sentence Tuesday for hitting a man in the head with a baseball bat because he wouldn't leave a house party.
Robert Michael Leake was sentenced by District Judge Russell Fagg after previously pleading guilty to felony assault with a weapon for the incident last Nov. 15. Leake said he understood that he should have called police if he felt threatened by the man who refused to leave the party at 137 Jackson St.
"My life changed with one swing of the bat," Leake told the judge.
The victim, Albert Doney, suffered a serious head injury. Leake was ordered to pay $11,077 in restitution to cover Doney's medical bills.
Fagg denied a request from Leake's public defender for a deferred sentence. Leake has no felony convictions on his record, but the judge said Leake has four misdemeanor convictions and the current case is a serious violent crime.
Leake was arrested after he called 911 and reported a burglary at the house. Officers determined that the burglary report was false when they found a man covered with blood nearby.
Doney told the officers he was at the house attending a party and was asked by several people to leave. Doney said he was then hit in the head with a baseball bat.
A woman at the house said that several people had gathered and were drinking together, but most had left by about 1 a.m. Doney was asked to leave several times, and the woman said she went to bed around 2:20 a.m. She said Leake came to her room a short time later and said he had hit Doney.
Another woman told police that Doney was sitting on a couch when Leake, without provocation, picked up a baseball bat and struck him in the head.
Leake first told officers that Doney was a burglar and was armed with a knife. He then said he hit Doney because he thought the man was making a threatening move.