- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LIBBY, Mont. (AP) - A husband who pleaded guilty to aggravated assault after being accused of nearly beating his wife to death with a baseball bat was sentenced to 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Joshua Peterson, 36, of Libby was sentenced Monday by District Judge James Wheelis in the attack on Tracee Peterson, The Western News (https://bit.ly/RUbODW ) reported.

Peterson entered his plea in March as part of an agreement in which Lincoln County prosecutors said they would dismiss a charge of attempted deliberate homicide and recommend 25 years in prison with seven years suspended. Defense attorney L. Jason Bryan sought a sentence of 30 years with 25 suspended.

While issuing the sentence, the judge cited the extreme violence of the attack.

Bryan’s sentencing memorandum described Joshua Peterson’s childhood as lonely and violent.



On the night of the attack, Bryan said, Peterson believed his wife was walking into another room to grab a gun and possibly shoot him. In a panic, Peterson hit her in the head with the bat three times, the lawyer said.

Tracee Peterson has said she was sleeping on a couch when she was attacked.

“I have no doubt in my mind he hit a sleeping woman and left thinking she was not going to live,” she told the newspaper in November.

In a statement before sentencing, Joshua Peterson said seeing his wife hurt was the worst feeling of his life.

“I destroyed my best friend,” he said. “I continue to pray for you and the children daily.”

Peterson also apologized to his wife’s parents.

Tracee Peterson spent two months in a hospital after the beating. She lost the hearing in her left ear and struggles with the vision in her right eye, she said.

“I don’t know if he knows what ‘I’m sorry’ really means,” she said.

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Information from: The Western News, https://www.thewesternnews.com

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