- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A 29-year-old northwestern Montana man has pleaded guilty to his role in a drug-related stabbing death in May 2016.

Christopher Michael Hansen pleaded guilty Thursday to accountability to deliberate homicide in the death of 26-year-old Wade Rautio near Creston. The plea agreement recommends 50 years in prison when he is sentenced on July 13.

Hansen testified Thursday that he watched co-defendant Robert Wittal chase Rautio with a knife. Hansen said he prevented Rautio from fleeing at one point and gave Wittal a pocket knife after Wittal lost the large knife he was using to stab Rautio. An autopsy found one of the two- dozen knife wounds cut Rautio’s jugular vein.

Hansen said he thought they were just going to “rough up” Rautio for stealing drugs.

Wittal is serving a 110-year prison sentence for deliberate homicide.


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