A La Plata County man convicted on four criminal charges related to a fight he had with law enforcement last year at the Glacier Club was sentenced Friday to two years in prison.
William Cline IV, who was 29 at the time of the incident, was in person for his sentencing hearing at the La Plata County Courthouse. In January, a 12-person jury found him guilty of felony assault, misdemeanor assault, harassment and criminal mischief.
“This is a serious offense,” said La Plata County Judge William Herringer. “And this case needs to be viewed in its entirety.”
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Glacier Club about 11:30 p.m. Feb. 13, 2019, for a report of a man who entered a home without permission and was possibly armed.
The homeowner was sleeping inside the house, he told police, when Cline opened his bedroom door, flashlight in hand. Cline then left the bedroom and went to the liquor cabinet in the kitchen, where he started to make himself a drink.
Deputies went the residence where Cline was living, where he became combative and assaulted police, court documents show. On the ride to the jail, Cline made racist comments toward an African American deputy.
Deputy District Attorney Zach Rogers on Friday asked that Cline be sentenced to three years in prison, given the seriousness of the incident and Cline’s apparent unwillingness to take responsibility.
The homeowner whose house Cline broke into, speaking via teleconference, said Cline “invaded his home,” and that the situation could have ended worse, seeing as Cline was armed.
“There’s a fear it will happen again,” the man said.
Cline, speaking to the court, said the incident was driven by his alcoholism, and since his arrest, he has entered programs to remain sober.
“I now know what the bottom feels like,” he said.
Cline called the racist remarks he made “disgraceful,” “disturbing” and “against all the values I hold to my heart.” He then turned around and asked forgiveness of the African American deputy, who was in attendance.
The deputy chose not to speak during the hearing.
Judge Herringer, however, said Cline’s apologies felt “awfully late,” given the fact Cline chose to take the case to trial despite all the evidence, including video, against him.
Herringer sentenced Cline to two years in prison and three years of parole. A state law requires a prison sentence instead of incarceration at a county jail for anyone convicted of assaulting police.
“This has been, unfortunately, a huge life lesson for me,” Cline said.