Ekstedt, charged with attacking Special Olympian with a baseball bat, changes his plea

Posted at 5:51 PM, Aug 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 19:51:07-04

(MISSOULA) Paul Ekstedt, charged with assaulting a Special Olympian with a baseball bat, changed his plea to guilty on Thursday.

Ekstedt, 27 years old, initially pleaded not guilty to one felony charge of assault with a weapon on July 19.

Missoula County Deputy Attorney Jordan Kilby confirmed to MTN News that Ekstedt changed his plea to guilty on Thursday morning in Missoula District Court.

Ekstedt is accused of assaulting Montana Special Olympian Gary Fuller on June 14 with a baseball bat.

Fuller sustained severe injuries from the attack, but has since made a remarkable recovery.

Ekstedt will be sentenced September 20.

(JUNE 18, 2018) New details have been released about the assault on Gary Fuller in Missoula on Thursday.

Fuller is a Special Olympics athlete and ambassador who is a fixture in the Missoula community.

Paul Ekstedt is accused of assaulting Fuller on June 14 at approximately 6 p.m.

Fuller and a group of friends were leaving a home to go eat dinner, when, according to several witnesses, Ekstedt approached Fuller and hit him in the head with a baseball bat.

One of the friends spoke to police and identified Ekstedt as the person who assaulted Fuller. She also said that she was in a relationship with Ekstedt and that there had no confrontation between him and Fuller before that time.

She also said that Ekstedt had been acting "strange" for the last week and a half.

Ekstedt was found nearby and according to court documents officers had reason to believe that he was under the influence of an "unknown intoxicating substance."

There was no information released on a possible motive for the attack. 

Ekstedt appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Friday and remains jailed at the Missoula County Detention Center.

In a post on Facebook, Fuller’s father David said:  “Gary has more confusion this morning and they’re concerned about his lungs, they are putting the ventilator back on Gary.”

According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Ekstedt has a felony conviction in Lincoln County on a charge of criminal endangerment in 2014; he received a three-year deferred sentence in that case.

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