- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A Williston man accused of vandalizing a company that fired him, scaring company executives with a gun and threatening police during a standoff at his home has pleaded guilty under a deal with prosecutors.

In July 2015, Stacey Ashinhurst used a power saw to cut computer cords and cables at Knife River Corp. and pointed a handgun at the general manager, prompting the manager and the company’s president to run in fear for their lives, authorities said. Ashinhurst had been terminated the day before, and had let himself into the business with a key he was supposed to have returned.

Ashinhurst fled to his home when police arrived. Authorities followed him to the home, where Ashinhurst told police he wouldn’t leave “without a fight,” said he would shoot people and fired a warning shot into the air close to several officers. He eventually surrendered.

“I’ve had ongoing mental health issues for the last decade,” Ashinhurst told Judge Paul Jacobson this week. “It’s difficult to listen to things that I did. The victims are people I worked with for years. They did not deserve to be put into fear like they were. My anger was displaced.”

Ashinhurst was facing five felony charges, including terrorizing, which carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Under the plea agreement, he will serve five years, with credit for a little more than a year already spent behind bars, the Williston Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2b6rdi5 ).

Ashinhurst faces a separate misdemeanor count of criminal mischief. He’s accused of ripping a television off the wall of his jail cell, according to court documents. The charge carries a maximum punishment of a year behind bars.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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