Dillon Dugger, a defendant who has been at the Blaine County jail since January, was sentenced to a retained jurisdiction program following an emotional sentencing hearing on Monday. Fifth District Judge Ned Williamson imposed a suspended 10-year prison sentence and will allow Dugger to complete a “rider” program—six to nine months of rehabilitation through the Idaho Department of Corrections. If he is successful in the program, the judge will not impose the full prison sentence but will instead place him on probation.
Dugger, 30, pleaded guilty to two felonies—unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and grand theft—in exchange for dismissal of two other felonies—attempted strangulation and aggravated assault.
Dugger was originally charged with four felonies following a three-hour standoff between himself and multiple law enforcement agencies that stemmed from a domestic dispute that turned violent on Nov. 16 near a convenience store in Picabo. According to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office, officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police, Bellevue Marshal’s Office, Sun Valley Police Department and the Twin Falls Police Department all attempted to subdue Dugger, who was wielding a gun throughout the standoff.
According to a probable-cause affidavit written by Blaine County Sheriff’s Office Detective Kristen Quinton, Dugger pointed the gun in the direction of the police officers and also at himself, pointing it at his mouth and the side of his head.
“[He] was saying that we were going to die, or he was going to die,” Quinton said at a preliminary hearing on Feb. 14.
According to prosecutor Matt Fredback, a culmination of changed behaviors due to methamphetamine use ultimately led Dugger to the events that transpired on Nov. 16.
“His brain was being rotted by methamphetamine,” Fredback told the court on Monday.
Dugger himself admitted in a pre-sentence investigation report that he had a severe addiction to methamphetamine and told the court Monday that that addiction had “brought me lower than I could have ever imagined.” Dugger’s addiction began as a dependence on opiates after a dirt-bike accident, which left him in a coma for three months in 2013. Opiates gave way to heroin and then methamphetamine because it was an easily accessible drug, Dugger’s public defender, Selim Star, told the court at sentencing.
Beyond the danger he posed to himself, Quinton testified at the preliminary hearing that she did feel that Dugger had put all the authorities on the scene in danger.
“I believe I was justified in shooting him that day, but I did not,” Quinton said.
Charges against Dugger were filed on Nov. 30, and he was arrested and taken to the Blaine County jail on Jan. 10, where he will remain until he is transferred to the rider program.
Remorseful and in tears, Dugger gave a statement to the court prior to sentencing, saying he clearly comprehended the events that led him to sentencing.
“I understand fully the gravity of the laws that were broken,” he said. “I cannot tell you the amount of remorse that I carry with me every day.”
Though no one was severely injured, Dugger recognized that the police had substantial warrant to open fire on him that day and was thankful to them for instead de-escalating the situation and being patient with him throughout the three-hour ordeal.
“I will never touch another drug until the day I die,” he said. “I lost everything because I chose to do drugs.”