A Belgrade man was given a six-month deferred sentence for hiding a gun that was used in a video to threaten other students.
David Oster is charged with misdemeanor obstructing justice. He appeared Tuesday with attorney Edward Guza in Gallatin County District Court before Judge Holly Brown.
After successfully completing the sentence, Oster will be allowed to request that the charges against him be dismissed and his record cleared.
In June, police responded to Belgrade High School for a report of a video showing three girls and a boy threatening to beat other students, according to charging documents. The boy cocked a gun several times and pointed it at the camera like he was shooting it.
The four students in the video told officers that the video was made at Oster’s house and that they used his gun to make it, court documents say.
Police said in charging documents that Oster told officers the gun wasn’t at the house, but later said he dropped it in a portable toilet at a construction site.
Officers found the gun there, and Oster was taken to the Belgrade Police Department.
In court on Tuesday, prosecutor
Eric Kitzmiller said Oster wasn’t directly involved in making the video or the dispute between the students making the threats. Another person took Oster’s pistol, he said, and the experience of serving 21 days in the Gallatin County jail has been an eye-opener for Oster.
“I think his culpability in this matter is not as significant as one would suspect,” Kitzmiller said.
Guza agreed with Kitzmiller and thanked the prosecutor for looking beyond the video and the incident. He said Oster’s punishment outside the court is “much greater,” noting that his acceptance to the Berklee College of Music in Spain has been placed on hold.
“In other words, the trajectory of his life has changed because of this,” Guza said.
Judge Brown allowed Oster time to talk before issuing her sentence. He apologized to everyone affected by his actions and for causing the lockdown at the high school.
Brown told Oster that he needed to pick his friends carefully and be aware of what they’re doing.
“They’re not your friends if they’re getting you in trouble with the law,” she said.
Oster told Brown that he is no longer friends with the people involved in making the video.
Asked what he learned about associations, Oster replied, “being associated makes you just as guilty.”