By NIKKI YOUNK
IRON MOUNTAIN - A Norway man accused of stabbing and injuring a law enforcement officer appeared in Dickinson County Circuit Court on Monday to learn what sentence he may receive if he decides to plead guilty to his charge.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Andrew Bray, right, appears in Dickinson County Circuit Court for a Cobbs hearing on his assault with intent to murder charge. Also pictured, from left, are Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards, probation agent James Sundquist, and defense attorney Elizabeth LaCosse.
Andrew Bray, 75, faces one felony count of assault with intent to commit murder.
Judge Richard Celello informed Bray that if he accepts a plea deal for a lesser charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, he would likely spend a minimum of five years in prison.
The maximum penalty for the charge is 10 years in prison.
Judge Celello added that should Bray be found guilty of the original charge, he would likely spend a minimum of 11 years and three months in prison.
The maximum penalty for the charge is life in prison.
The sentence estimations were given during a Cobbs hearing, in which a judge looks at the facts of a case and tells a defendant what sentence he will likely impose.
If the defendant proceeds to plead guilty and the judge goes over the estimation at the sentencing hearing, the defendant has the opportunity to withdraw his plea.
Judge Celello emphasized that Cobbs hearings are extremely rare, as he had never conducted one before Monday. However, he noted Bray's case was unusual.
The charge against Bray stems from a Feb. 10 incident during the Pine Mountain Continental Cup International Ski Jumping Competition at Pine Mountain Resort in Breitung Township.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, Bray is accused of stabbing Lt. Derek Dixon of the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department in the upper back with a four-inch blade. When interviewed after the incident, Bray allegedly told authorities that he had been having homicidal thoughts and had been thinking about harming a police officer for the past few days.
In preparation for the Cobbs hearing, the probation department drew up a preliminary pre-sentence investigation report and Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards asked Dixon to be available to testify if needed.
Dixon told the court that he and his wife had difficulty in dealing with the incident at first, but it has gotten easier as time passes.
"I have no ill will toward Mr. Bray," he added. "I know it wasn't personal, it was a uniform that he attacked."
However, Dixon also expressed concern for the safety of the public and other officers if Bray is not given a lengthy term of imprisonment.
At this time, Bray is still scheduled for a five-day jury trial starting Jan. 13.
Up until Monday's hearing, Bray's defense attorney had been Daniel Jaspen of Iron Mountain. Attorney Elizabeth LaCosse of Menominee is now representing him.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.