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Judge places man with ‘uncontrolled addictions’ on rider for stalking

Crime Watch

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Nathan Blackburn | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man who was arrested after a five-hour standoff in March will spend a year in prison completing a rider.

Nathan Blackburn, 41, was sentenced to serve between one and five years in prison on a felony first-degree stalking charge, which he pleaded guilty to in May. District Judge Bruce L. Pickett opted to retain jurisdiction in the case and send him into the program.

Rider programs are where inmates receive intensive programming and education in hopes of rehabilitation over the course of six months or a year. Once a felon has completed the program, they go before a judge. At that time, the judge decides whether to release the felon and put them on probation, or send them back to prison to complete their sentence.

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Blackburn’s arrest came after an escalating pattern of dangerous behavior toward an ex-girlfriend.

Police reports show Blackburn began stalking his ex-girlfriend after she kicked him out of her home Feb. 22. She told police he had repeatedly held her against her will.

After he moved out, Blackburn sneaked back into the home several times and even locked his ex-girlfriend out. He would also send her bizarre or angry messages, sometimes through fictitious phone numbers. At one point, the victim claimed Blackburn had pizza and taxis that she did not order sent to her home.

The repeated texts and odd behavior Blackburn exhibited prompted the victim to pack up and get away.

Then in March, security camera footage captured Blackburn inside her home while she was gone, and the woman called police.

Blackburn went home before police arrived. Due to his criminal history, SWAT team and crisis negotiator were called to the scene. Over a five-hour period they worked to bring him out of his home and take him into custody.

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The stalking charge wasn’t Blackburn’s first run-in with the law. In 2012, police arrested him after he allegedly pointed a gun at his wife and another man when he caught the two kissing. In 2018, he was arrested on charges of domestic battery, telephone harassment and malicious injury to property.

During the sentencing hearing, letters were presented supporting a lighter sentence for Blackburn. A friend attributes his criminal history to “spousal issues” and “increased alcohol consumption.” Others describe Blackburn as a hard worker with the potential to change.

“His downs and seriously troubled times have definitely been due to uncontrolled addictions, which have led to struggling and broken relationships, the inability to function as the provider, and difficulty in thinking and acting rationally,” Blackburn’s mother wrote in a letter obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

In addition to the rider, Pickett required Blackburn pay $1,245 in fees and fines.

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