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72-year-old woman who threatened irrigation worker shows up late for trial, pleads guilty

Crime Watch

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Marcia McNabb | Jefferson County Jail

RIGBY — A 72-year-old Rigby woman refused to come to court for over an hour Wednesday because she feared facing an irrigation worker she had threatened with a rifle in November.

Prosecutors charged Marcia K. McNabb with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. She initially pleaded not guilty in February, but changed her plea in court on Wednesday.

McNabb admitted to pointing a rifle at an irrigation worker near her Rigby home. While the felony aggravated assault statute doesn’t specify the need for a weapon to be fired, McNabb told a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy she fired her .22 caliber rifle at the worker, according to court documents.

The irrigation worker, who works for Burgess Canal & Irrigation Company, called 911. He told police that McNabb fired the rifle at him while he was cleaning out a canal with heavy equipment. He told deputies he earlier had reported the same woman for throwing rocks at his track hoe, according to court documents.

When deputies spoke with McNabb, she said the canal company was stealing her property, according to court documents. McNabb said she carried the rifle and had shot at the worker “because they came and were doing my front yard again,” according to court documents.

When McNabb did not show up for her 9 a.m. court trial her defense attorney, John L. Stosich, had his legal assistant give McNabb a call. McNabb said she was at home but wasn’t at court in fear for her safety. Specifically, McNabb said she feared the victim and representatives of the irrigation company.

The irrigation worker was in court Wednesday to testify against McNabb.

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Stosich said McNabb feels the canal company is taking over her property illegally and showing up to her trial would give into what the irrigation company allegedly does.

“(McNabb) fears she is under attack by this canal company,” Stosich said.

District Judge Stevan H. Thompson allowed Stosich one hour to convince McNabb to come to court before he would consider ordering a bench warrant and deputies to bring her into court. At 10:38 a.m. McNabb walked into the courthouse with Stosich and her son.

When Thompson began the hearing, Stosich announced McNabb’s intention to admit to the charge, specifically to pointing the rifle at the irrigation worker.

Although a written plea agreement was not on the table, McNabb verbally pleaded guilty. Jefferson County Prosecutor Paul Butikofer and Stosich agreed to recommend McNabb’s placement on probation with no objection to a withheld judgment. A withheld judgment stipulates if McNabb successfully completes probation, the felony charge is removed from her record.

When Thompson asked McNabb if she pointed a rifle at the canal worker she admitted to threatening the employee but reiterated to the judge that she believed the canal company was illegally infringing on her property. During the November incident, the canal worker told deputies he was tending the canal and that he had not been working on her property when the shooting occurred.

The judge allowed Stosich’s suggestion to release McNabb on her own recognizance from pre-trial services with an agreement that she won’t possess firearms.

Sentencing for McNabb is scheduled for July 8.