Monday, October 29, 2007

Man who threatened girlfriend, kids sentenced to prison

By Kevin Behr
Winona Daily News

A Lewiston man who threatened to kill his girlfriend and her two children while holding a miniature baseball bat will spend at least the next five and a half years in prison.

James Garnett Briggs, 47, was sentenced to 8¼ years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon in the April 28 fight with his ex-girlfriend and her daughter. He will be eligible for supervised release after 66 months.

Although Briggs was convicted on eight of 10 felony charges, Winona County Attorney Chuck MacLean only wanted to sentence Briggs on three of them to avoid double jeopardy. The third sentence of 21 months was stayed in favor of five years of supervised probation.

At Briggs’ sentencing hearing Thursday, MacLean labeled Briggs an anti-social, manipulative narcissist.

“It’s all about him,” MacLean said. “Nobody else.”

MacLean had sought a 105-month sentence because, he said, Briggs showed absolutely no remorse throughout the court proceedings and pre-sentencing investigations and is a danger to public safety.

Judge Margaret Shaw Johnson agreed with what MacLean said but also complimented Briggs’ attempt at self-representation during his jury trial.

“He tried very hard,” she said, “and in many respects, did a good job representing himself.”

Briggs had little to say for himself but maintained his innocence.

“I shouldn’t feel remorse for them,” he said. “I never did this.”

At the end of the hearing, Johnson asked if Briggs had any questions regarding his sentence.

“No ma’am. See you in a few,” Briggs said as he was led out of the courtroom.

His response referenced several case files still pending before Johnson.

Briggs is charged with 49 felonies and six gross misdemeanors alleging he violated orders for protection and tampered with witnesses, all while in jail. He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for allegedly calling his victims from jail and sending letters to the children threatening to put them in jail or foster care for testifying against him.

No date has been set for Briggs’s next court hearing on those charges.