Mt. Sentinel Attacker gets 30 Years in State Prison Hospital
38 year-old Jared Kuntz, the man who viciously attacked a woman and her son on the ‘M’ trail on Mt. Sentinel in April of 2020 and then attacked two other men later that day, was sentenced on Monday morning in Missoula District Court by Judge Leslie Halligan.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings was the prosecutor in the case and spoke to KGVO News about the sentencing hearing.
“Jared Kuntz was sentenced on Monday,” said Jennings. “This was the individual that attacked three people on the ‘M’ on Mt. Sentinel in April of 2020. We had a lengthy and emotional sentencing hearing with the victims of this offense along with other concerned family members and we made arguments to the court. Judge Leslie Halligan issued a sentencing order in court yesterday, that sentenced Jared Kuntz to 40 years with the Department of Health and Human Services with 10 of those years suspended, meaning that he has a 30 year sentence in the Montana State Hospital.”
Jennings described what happened on the ‘M’ Trail that day.
“On a Friday afternoon in April of 2020, a woman and her young son were hiking like many of us have done on that mountain,” he said. “She and her son were viciously attacked, and it was completely unprovoked. She was very seriously injured. And while law enforcement was looking for this individual about two hours later, he then attacked two other people up the mountain.”
Jennings said the woman’s 13 year-old son acted heroically to help his mother who was being attacked by Kuntz.
“That young man was a real hero that day,” he said. “You know, he was faced with an attacker that was well over twice his size and about three times his age and he was able to distract the attacker and ran for help, and his actions may very well have saved his mom's life.”
Jennings described the sentence his office recommended that was handed down by Judge Halligan.
“Essentially, he is guilty but mentally ill,” he said. “I can't go into the specifics about his mental illness, but there were factors with his mental illness that contributed to his actions that day, and under Montana law that directs his sentence to be with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, and not in the prison or the Department of Corrections. The court followed the state's recommendation which we felt was in line with his criminal history and the terrible severity of this offense, and the need to protect the community going forward.”
The victim was initially flown to Salt Lake City to be treated due to the severity of her injuries.
Kuntz was transported to the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs immediately after the sentencing hearing to begin his 30 year sentence.