BOZEMAN - A 25-year-old Paradise Valley man accused of pushing a woman out a second-story apartment window pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal endangerment.
Jeremy Jerla was initially charged with attempted murder for the April 18 incident in Bozeman that left Crista Bel with a broken elbow, a broken foot and bruises. But prosecutors agreed to drop that charge in exchange for his guilty plea.
Bel told police Jerla said "he was God and she needed to decide how she wanted to die - if she wanted to go out the window or by the knife." Jerla's family has said he has bipolar disorder but has undergone a positive change since his arrest.
Jerla acknowledged pushing Bel out the window and causing her to fall about 10 feet, but he said it was unintentional.
Bel "was smoking a cigarette while sitting in the windowsill," he said. "I went over to get her to put out the cigarette because it was not allowed in my apartment. I was grabbing for the cigarette. She was pulling away. There was some pushing, pulling and she fell out of the window."
Jerla said Bel lost her balance because he was "trying a little too hard to get the cigarette."
He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 9.