Posted: Apr 30, 2013 11:00 PM by Irina Cates - MTN News
MISSOULA - John Frederick Leathers, an inmate in the Missoula jail, is facing a felony charge after he allegedly tried to stab a detention officer in the neck with a pencil.
Leathers appeared in court wearing a spit mask.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office says the alleged assault happened on Monday afternoon when a detention officer approached Leathers' cell because he refused to come out.
The sheriff's office says the detention officer was standing in the doorway of the cell when Leathers started yelling at the officer and then made several attempts to stab him in the neck with a pencil.
The officer was able to fight off Leathers and other detention officers then helped get Leathers back in his cell.
Leathers' defense attorney, Lisa Kauffman, told the judge that her client has a mental illness and that jail is not the place for him.
"The jail's not set up to meet his treatment needs, which are pretty unique and pretty specific. And I think that this particular event...although I don't know if it's true or not, certainly is a reflection of him being in lock down, and in isolation, and in max for so long," said Kauffman.
The defense attorney asked that Leathers be placed in the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, but prosecutors said the State Hospital evaluated Leathers and determined that this placement is not suitable for him.
Before this incident, Leathers was in jail on several felony charges, including probation violation and a number of order of protection violations.