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A 63-year-old man pleaded no contest Friday to felony assault with a weapon for holding a butcher knife to his girlfriend’s throat.

Timothy Michael Barkac entered the no contest plea before District Judge Ingrid Gustafson. For purposes of sentencing, a no contest plea functions the same as a guilty plea or jury conviction. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9.

Police started investigating the case after the alleged victim posted a photo of her injuries, which included a black eye, on Facebook and made comments indicating she had been assaulted, charging documents state.

The victim told police she and Barkac had been drinking the day before the assault, charging documents say.

She said they got into an argument and Barkac started punching her and then ordered her to go look at her face in a mirror, court records state. She reported she refused to go look and that he grabbed her by the throat and threw her to the ground.

Barkac then went for a butcher knife, prosecutors say, and held it to the woman’s throat, threatening that he would gut her.

During Barkac’s initial court appearances, the victim, who had a black eye, was sitting in the courtroom and became upset and had to be escorted away.

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“He never held a knife on me,” she said, as a security officer led her out of the room.

She was not in the court room Friday when Barkac pleaded guilty.

Because Barkac’s plea agreement calls for a fully suspended sentence, judge Gustafson agreed to have him released from jail on several condition, including that he have no contact with the victim. 

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City news reporter for the Billings Gazette