Kenai man pleads guilty to assault

A Kenai man plead guilty to a charge of assault and was sentenced to anger management classes and probation Thursday at the Kenai Courthouse.

Joshua Freel, 26, changed his plea from not guilty to guilty for a count of assault in the third degree during a Thursday hearing, and Kenai Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman sentenced him to 24 months in jail with 23 months suspended and three years of probation. In addition, Freel will have to enroll in a state-approved anger management program.

“Last time I was on probation, it helped me,” Freel said during the hearing. “I’m using it also as a form of counseling. I believe this is the best thing for me.”

Originally, Freel was charged with assault in the second degree, assault in the fourth degree and criminal mischief in the fourth degree following a July 11 incident in Kenai in which troopers found he assaulted another man by putting his arm around the man’s throat.

Two counts of assault in the third degree were later added to his case before the deal presented at Thursday’s hearing was reached. Bauman expressed slight concern about the lightness of the sentence, but said he was confident it was appropriate in Freel’s case.

“I think it’s likely to deter you,” he said to Freel. “There’s a three-year probation period.”

Freel has served enough time to be released to probation.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com

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