WILLISTON, N.D. — A Williston man accused of tying a noose around the necks of his ex-wife and son and pulling them behind an SUV has pleaded guilty to terrorizing and reckless endangerment.
Isaac Gould was accused of tying nooses around his family members' necks in July, 2013. At a court hearing Tuesday, Gould's defense attorney said he acknowledged the charges as described by prosecutors.
Gould pleaded guilty to charges involving his wife as part of a plea agreement that would drop the same charges of abusing his son. Judge David Nelson said he will review the results of a presentence investigation and decide whether to accept the agreement.
The terms of the deal call for Gould to be sentenced to serve eight years in prison, with credit for time already served.
Prosecutors described a July 24, 2013 incident in which Gould requested his son and ex-wife to come meet him. Once they arrived, Gould had his son retrieve two nooses from his own vehicle. Gould ordered his ex-wife and son to put the nooses on their necks, but they refused, prompting him to force the nooses on them.
He accused them both of being liars.
According to testimony by the ex-wife, as described in court by State's Attorney Marlyce Wilder, Gould told his son: "I'm not going to have you carry my last name and be a liar. I love you as a son, but I can't have you around if you're going to be a liar."
The prosecution says Gould then tied the other end of the nooses to the rear of his Suburban SUV. He told his ex-wife that the boy would likely die first because his was shorter and his neck would snap quicker.
He then ordered his ex-wife to tell the son what was about to happen. She told the son they were about to die.
Gould got back in his vehicle and began driving and the rope "tugged and tightened."
Gould's current wife, who was sitting inside the Suburban, eventually got out of the vehicle and untied the nooses. Gould informed his ex-wife and son that he would kill them if they spoke to the police.
Defense attorney Rhiannon Gorham said Gould could not recall specific statements but "agreed that in general that was a situation that occurred."
A string of complaints and affidavits show Gould had a history of violent behavior. They included dousing his brother's dog and floor with gasoline and threatening to burn the house down, kicking his son in the head, threatening to kill his ex-wife while wielding a knife and punching a fellow inmate while he was in jail after the noose incident.