court gavel

SPOKANE – An Omak man was sentenced to more than three years in federal prison for assaulting his domestic partner more than a year ago at Owhi Lake near Nespelem.

Senior U.S. District Judge William Fremming Nielsen sentenced Justin Thomas Gentemann, 31, to 37 months in federal prison for the March 4, 2021, assault resulting in serious bodily injury to a domestic partner in Indian county.

Nielsen also imposed a period of three years’ federal supervised release.

The judge emphasized the need to protect victims of domestic abuse, especially when such abuse occurs as a result of alcohol and controlled substance use.

“This case was very serious and involved repeated conduct,” Nielsen said. “Serious conduct means serious consequences.”

The judge agreed with the U.S. Attorney’s Office sentencing recommendations and imposed a sentence at the high end of the sentencing range agreed upon by the parties.

According to court documents, on March 4, 2021, Gentemann and his girlfriend at the time were at Owhi Lake. Gentemann had been drinking and accused his girlfriend of being unfaithful to him.

As Gentemann continued to drink, he became more aggressive. Eventually, he punched the girlfriend in the chest and threw her to the ground, then drove away in the girlfriend’s truck.

He returned and chased down the girlfriend, according to court records. He headbutted his victim and punched her, breaking her nose.

The girlfriend escaped by getting a ride from an eyewitness. After the assault, the girlfriend had blood on her sweatshirt from the injuries to her nose.

When Gentemann was arrested, he became belligerent with Colville Tribal Police Officer Mackenzie Shaffer, threatening to “beat the fuck out” of the officer, according to court records. Gentemann later attempted to kick Shaffer, who had to step back to avoid being struck in his leg.

Gentemann hit the officer’s hand, causing a contusion that required medical treatment.

At the sentencing hearing, Nielsen said Gentemann has a “track record” of behavior involving alcohol or domestic violence. Court papers indicate Gentemann has a 2014 conviction for driving under the influence, a 2015 conviction for malicious mischief, and convictions in 2017 and 2018 for domestic violence.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref praised the agencies involved for their work and said she was thankful Shaffer was not seriously injured.

“Violence against Native American women is starting to receive the much-needed attention it warrants,” said Donald Voiret, special agent in charge of the FBI Seattle Field Office. “I know this office and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to move quickly and hold perpetrators of violence on our state’s reservations accountable for their crimes.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Colville Tribal Police Department.

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