By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - A Crystal Falls man who assaulted a woman and fled from police on two separate occasions has been sentenced to serve a minimum of two years in prison.
Nikki Younk/Daily News Photo
Michael Phillips, left, appears for sentencing in Iron County Trial Court with his attorney Geoffrey Lawrence.
Michael Arvid Phillips, 55, was sentenced for felony counts of felonious assault, home invasion, and resisting and obstructing, and a misdemeanor count of domestic violence.
According to the criminal complaints and witness testimony, Phillips assaulted a woman on the legs with a fire poker on April 3 in Crystal Falls Township. When law enforcement officials arrived at the scene, Phillips tried to flee on an off-road vehicle (ORV), but officials were able to subdue him with a taser.
On April 24, while Phillips was out on bond from the first case, he assaulted the same woman then fled from responding officials by entering a neighboring residence and hiding in the shower.
The owner of the neighboring residence confirmed that Phillips did not have permission to enter the home.
During Phillips' sentencing hearing in Iron County Trial Court on Monday, his attorney Geoffrey Lawrence asked Judge C. Joseph Schwedler to depart from the Michigan Department of Corrections' sentencing guidelines.
The guidelines called for Phillips' minimum sentence to be between 10 and 23 months for the felonious assault and resisting and obstructing charges, and between 14 and 29 months for the home invasion charge.
"His problems all revolve around alcohol," Lawrence explained. "If he's not drinking, he's not a danger to anyone."
Lawrence requested that his client spend 12 months in jail then go into an inpatient program.
The victim in the case also spoke out on behalf of Phillips.
She said that since she and Phillips were both intoxicated during the incidents, she was partly to blame.
She added that Phillips has serious health issues besides alcoholism that may not be properly addressed in a prison setting.
Iron County Prosecutor Melissa Powell said that Phillips already had his chance at rehabilitation.
"He's already been in drug court," she said. "Had he been convicted of operating while intoxicated on the ORV, it would have been his fifth."
Powell also pointed out that Phillips committed the April 24 offenses while he was out on felony bond from the April 3 offenses.
She asked Judge Schwedler to sentence Phillips to prison.
When given a chance to address the court, Phillips apologized.
"I make no excuses, I take full responsibility for everything," he said.
Judge Schwedler agreed with Powell that Phillips had run out of chances at rehabilitation.
"Your actions are such that you present a risk to the community," he told Phillips. "I must incarcerate you to protect the community."
The official sentence included one and a half to four years for the felonious assault charge, two to five years for the home invasion charge, one to two years for the resisting and obstructing charge, and 93 days for the domestic violence charge. All terms will run concurrent to each other.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.