MISSOULA – A man will face 12 years behind bars after assaulting a well-known Montana Special Olympian with a baseball bat.
Paul Ekstedt has been sentenced to 20 years in a Montana State penitentiary with eight suspended from Judge John Larson Friday afternoon after he pleaded guilty to assaulting special Olympian Gary Fuller.
That event took place back in June and left Fuller in the hospital with extensive head injuries.
Fuller’s mother and sister were both in court to testify and said that Fuller came extremely close to losing his life or becoming permanently brain damaged.
Fuller’s family said that it was a trying time for the family and that they are lucky to still have Gary with them.
“It was such an emotional roller coaster those first few days,” Fuller’s sister Heather Conrad said. “Taking victory were we could, whether it was seeing Gary open his eyes, having him sleep soundly for a few hours, having him recognize us, was nothing short of a miracle.”
Ekstedt initially pleaded not guilty to the charges but changed his plea after agreeing to a plea deal with the county attorney’s office.