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Man accused of trying to break into C-Falls school pleads not guilty

by DERRICK PERKINS
Daily Inter Lake | February 7, 2023 12:00 AM

A Whitefish man arrested after allegedly trying to break into the Columbia Falls High School last month pleaded not guilty Jan. 25 to multiple felony charges.

Nels Edward Williams, 63, faces counts of assault on a peace officer and criminal mischief in Flathead County District Court following the alleged attempted break-in. He remains held in the county jail with bail set at $40,000.

Columbia Falls Police officers took Williams into custody after responding to a report of an attempted break-in at the high school at about 9:31 p.m., Jan. 6, according to court documents. When they arrived, they allegedly found Williams standing outside the building holding a large piece of glass.

When Williams refused to drop the glass at the officers’ command, they unsuccessfully used a Taser on him, court documents said. Williams, who had previously threatened to use the glass on the officers, then threw it at them, according to court documents.

A second use of a Taser brought Williams to heel, court documents said.

An investigation determined that Williams caused more than $1,500 in damage to the school building during the alleged attempted break-in.

Judge Robert Allison set an omnibus hearing in the case for March 22 with a pretrial conference to follow on April 12.

Assault on a peace officer carries a punishment of between two and 10 years in Montana State Prison and a fine of $50,000. Criminal mischief is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars and a fine of $50,000.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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