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Judge denies motion, sentences Feist
By Lynda Berg Olds
Judge Molly GaleWyrick denied the motions of Michael Feist’s new attorney, Paul Rogosheske for reconsideration and a new trial in her Polk County courtroom on Tuesday, thus the guilty verdicts stand. Feist, 60, of Milltown was convicted of 34 counts of animal abuse – four of those Felony I charges of mistreatment of animal (horses) causing death. He was originally scheduled to be sentenced in August, but Feist fired his first attorney and hired Rogosheske, which it turns out he admitted was a stalling tactic in the PSI (Pre-Sentence Investigation).
Judge GaleWyrick first heard a lengthy argument from Rogosheske and an even longer summary of all the proceedings to date from District Attorney Dan Steffen of this case, which stems back to charges filed Nov. 22, 2013.
Testimony was then heard from a veterinarian working with Feist, as well as his wife, and even Feist himself.
Feist has been repeatedly told he needs to reduce the size of his herd, but he still has about 80 head of horses, to which he has apparently also added 30 hogs and about as many chickens.
Judge GaleWyrick withheld the sentence and ruled on the first four felony counts - probation of five years each, to be served concurrent to each other. She sentenced him to one year in the Polk County Jail, of which he must serve six months up front, beginning Jan. 2, 2016. He is subject to Huber but not ‘good time’ – that is he must serve the first six months completely, with six months stayed or “banked” as they say in Polk County. This provides additional leverage for probation - and motivation for Feist to comply with all the terms of said probation.
Feist must also pay a $290 fine/cost on the first felony count.
For counts 5 through 19, Judge Gale Wyrick also “withheld the sentence,” ordering four years probation on each count, to run concurrent to each other, with another “banked” 30 days on each count. She also ordered Feist pay $265.60 fine/cost on two of those misdemeanor counts.
For counts 20 through 34, the judge stayed nine months of county jail time on each count, with four years probation on each count, again concurrent with other probation.
Feist must also pay restitution of $610 to the District Attorney’s Office to cover the cost of the two necropsies (horse biopsies), $1425 to the Sheriff’s Department (for vet bills) for a total of $2035 plus a 10 percent fee of $203.50 for total of $2,040.
Judge GaleWyrick ordered Feist to reduce his herd down to 50 horses by Jan. 1, 2016. She also ordered probation reviews every six months, for the vet to make visits twice per month and said visits to be documented w/probation. She wants the court notified if there are any issues at all and reserves the right to reduce the herd further.
Another stipulation was that all future business endeavors (such as selling hogs or eggs or whatever) be approved by probation. Feist, as a convicted felon, may not possess firearms, nor vote. He must also provide a DNA sample and pay a surcharge of $275 and was told to do so at the jail immediately.
See next week’s Enterprise Press for complete coverage of the lengthy motion/sentencing hearing. Judge GaleWyrick had quite a bit to say on the subject.