A St. Maries man pleaded guilty to two felonies stemming from assault on his wife in June.
Randall Ohrt, age 68, admitted to domestic battery with traumatic injury and aggravated assault against wife. The plea was part of an agreement between Ohrt and Benewah County Prosecutor Brian Thie. Three other felony charges, including second-degree kidnapping, attempted strangulation and attempted murder, were dismissed.
Ohrt was arrested June 17 when his wife appeared at the home of a neighbor with serious injuries. She told the neighbors that she had escaped from her husband, who had held her against her will and physically abused her. She was taken to Kootenai Health by air ambulance for emergency treatment.
The next day, she told Benewah County deputies that Ohrt had kicked, beaten, bitten and strangled her repeatedly over the course of approximately 30 hours. She said he also stuffed plastic bags in her mouth to the point that she couldn’t breathe, sprayed hairspray up her nostrils, and at one point put a firearm against her head and pulled the trigger, in an action described by deputies as an instance of “Russian roulette.”
The incident was the third domestic battery incident on record between Ohrt and his wife. In those instances, Ohrt claimed that he had been the victim of abuse and extortion on the part of his wife. However, in both instances, deputies noted he showed no signs of such abuse; his wife, however, did exhibit clear injuries.
Ohrt was arrested several days after the incident, at which point he slit his wrists with a blade. He was taken by air ambulance to Kootenai Health, then taken into custody in Benewah County the next day.
At his arraignment Dec. 13, Attorney Nicolas Vieth said that Ohrt disagreed with the factual basis of some of the charges against him; however, he acknowledged that certain aspects, including restraining his wife and holding a hand over her mouth to the point that she could not breathe, were factual. Ohrt was said to have admitted to these activities while in custody.
Judge Scott Wayman accepted the guilty plea on both charges, and ordered that a pre-sentence report be prepared. Sentencing for Ohrt is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2020.