Editor's Note - This story has been updated to reflect that Leslie Aaron Mabrey's prison sentence was suspended.
A North Carolina man convicted of threatening to kill Helena police officers and failing to register as a violent offender received a suspended sentence Tuesday.
Leslie Aaron Mabrey, who has a history of outbursts in court, received two five-year prison sentences for the two offenses. The sentences will run concurrently, and he was given 1 1/2 years of credit for time served. All the time is suspended and Mabrey was released on Tuesday.
Testimony from David Jenkins, the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center’s medical provider, argued that Mabrey’s prior outbursts in court were an outgrowth of his severe liver disease, which raised ammonia levels in his bloodstream and damaged his mental health.
Mabrey apologized to Judge Mike Menahan for his previous outbursts in his testimony, thanking him for his “common sense and professional accumen to remove me from your courtroom.”
“I’m not mentally right at that point,” Mabrey said.
Mabrey did speak over Judge Menahan at length in the hearing, with his public defenders advising him to stick to what he was going to do rather than what he had done. Mabrey brought a clear plastic garbage bag of paperwork from his time in the Montana justice system that he kept under the table for the entire hearing.
Mabrey asked for the “absolute strictest form of probation allowed,” which Judge Menahan dismissed, giving him the usual probation requirements.
Capt. Alan Hughes, the jail’s chief administrator, gave testimony as well. He said Mabrey had become the jail’s librarian and had worked with other inmates. Hughes said that Mabrey’s history with self-inflicted wounds had subsided as treatment had progressed, but that treatment for Mabrey had also cost the county some $15,000 over his time in jail.
Judge Mike Menahan said he accepted that explanation and that this was a “very unusual case.” He found the mental health component of Mabrey’s actions to be the culprit for his previous actions, but was unsure about Mabrey’s antisocial personality traits allowing him to function well in society.
Deputy County Attorney Ann Penner was not sanguine about Mabrey’s sentencing.
“We’ve heard this all before,” Penner said. “We will be back here.”
According to Independent Record reports, police officers initiated a traffic stop on Mabrey in April 2014 on suspicion of several vehicle violations. He admitted being intoxicated and performed a field sobriety test but refused to give a breath sample, according to court documents. He began threatening officers, telling them that he would remember both their names and that he was associated with the Hell’s Angels in California and Virginia and was incarcerated for 33 years so he had “connections.”
“Just so you know, you and your kids are gonna die,” Mabrey told officers, according to court documents. “…You got family, kids, your life is over, and it’s not the booze talking; you’re dead.”