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Summer attack suspect gets suspended sentence

March 3 – A Kalispell man charged with assaulting his then-estranged husband, her boyfriend and child over the summer received a four-year suspended sentence in Flathead County District Court on Monday.

The Feb. 28 sentencing came after 30-year-old Jerrad Raymond Merrill pleaded guilty to felony endangerment and misdemeanor by partner or relative in December. Originally charged with aggravated assault, assault of a minor and the aforementioned misdemeanor, Merrill struck a deal with prosecutors on Dec. 5.

Along with the deferred sentence, Judge Robert Allison issued a one-year suspended sentence at the Flathead County Detention Center for the charge of sexual assault by partner or relative. The two sentences run concurrently and Merrill was served four days.

He must also enroll in anger management classes within 30 days.

Kalispell police officers found and arrested Merrill after responding to a reported disturbance on Nevada Street around 7:13 p.m. on June 23, according to court documents. Merrill reportedly showed up uninvited to a backyard barbecue and attacked his then-estranged wife’s boyfriend by punching and kicking him in the face. The friend was left with serious bodily injuries, court documents said.

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During the fight, Merrill punched and injured his then-estranged wife after she tried to intervene, court documents said. He also allegedly threw her daughter to the ground when she too tried to stop the fighting.

When officers later saw Merrill driving down Main Street, he reportedly admitted to the assault and told authorities that he “took care of it like a man” when he discovered his wife was in a new romantic relationship.

One of the victims in the case, Alana Merrill — Jerrad Merrill’s formerly estranged wife — testified in court Monday. Prior to sentencing, Alana Merrill told the Daily Inter Lake that she had since reconciled with Jerrad Merrill. Without condoning his behavior, she said she understood and accused her then-boyfriend of taunting Jerrad Merrill without her knowledge.

“If they just kept poking and poking, I’d show up too,” she said. “I know it’s not good, but you can only have so much.”

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Alana Merrill said it was the only time she suffered physical abuse at the hands of Jerrad Merrill.

Alana Merrill said previous coverage of the case had damaged her husband’s reputation in the community. The two wanted to move forward with the incident, she said.

“I’m just trying to do this again with Jarred and rebuild our family and be happy with each other,” she said. “Nobody is perfect.”

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