A Mandan man received a sentence of 13 years after changing his plea to guilty Wednesday morning.

Robert Gray, 53, was charged with Class C felonies for assaulting and restraining with duct tape his 21-year-old neighbor.

The defense attorneys, Robert Quick and Carey Goetz, said Gray had changed his plea so his neighbor doesn't have to come back to North Dakota to testify.

"She does not want to come," Morton County Assistant State's Attorney Jackson Lofgren said. "She does not want to see Mr. Gray."

"He's taking responsibility for his actions," Goetz said.

According to the prosecution's factual basis, which Gray accepts as fact by pleading guilty, Gray assaulted his neighbor, breaking a tooth and choking her after they watched television together in his apartment.

He then restrained her with duct tape. When Mandan police arrived, he threatened to shoot through the door.

"I regret everything," Gray said to the court. "I'm very, very sorry for what I've done. I can't tell you how much I'm sorry about that. I don't know what happened that night. I just don't."

Gray received a psychological evaluation, in which, according to Goetz, said while Gray has a mental illness, he was deemed competent.

Due to a criminal record dating back to 1975 in Pennsylvania, Gray was sentenced as a habitual offender. This means the court can assign longer sentences. For Class C felonies this is up to 10 years.

Gray received 10 years for the charge of aggravated assault and three years for the terrorizing charge. He also received 10 years suspended for the third charge, felonious restraint.

If Gray violates the terms of his five-year probation, he could have to serve those 10 years for the felonious restraint charge as well as up to an additional seven years on the terrorizing charge.

The sentences will be served consecutively for a total prison term of 13 years.

Gray is required to serve a minimum of 85 percent on the aggravated assault charge before becoming eligible for parole because it is a violent crime.

"This is a lengthy sentence," Goetz said. "If he serves 85 percent of these 13 years, he'll do probably about 10 years. That will put him at age 64. Then he's on supervised probation for three to five years, which will put him into his 70s.

"So I believe, given his age and given the ability to supervise him for the next 15 years or so, that this is a sufficient sentence," she said.

The defense and prosecution had come to this agreement beforehand, and the judge agreed to it.

"The court's concerned, Mr. Gray, because these charges are very similar to what happens to you every few years," South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick said.

Gray will also have to pay $550 in fees plus supervision fees when he is on probation.

(Reach reporter Emily Coleman at 250-8256 or emily.coleman@bismarcktribune.com.)

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