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Accused Fish Thrower Faces Misdemeanors

by Mick Holien
Missoulian - September 19, 2000

Idaho man pleads innocent to assault, obstructing justice charges

Randall Gordon Mark was looking for attention Saturday when he interrupted a congressional subcommittee hearing in Missoula by throwing a plate of rotting salmon on an Idaho congresswoman.

On Monday, he drew attention of a different sort as two Missoula County sheriff's deputies ushered the 20-year-old into Justice Court, where he was charged with assault and obstructing justice, both misdemeanors.

Mark, of Moscow, Idaho, was arrested at the University of Montana after rushing down the aisle of the Urey Lecture Hall at the start of a forest health hearing run by Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, R-Idaho, and tossing fish on the representative. Mark shouted, "You are the greatest threat to the forest," before officers wrestled him into handcuffs.

Chenoweth-Hage convened the subcommittee hearing to discuss issues surrounding the worst fire season in the past half-century. The hearing was recessed for about an hour after Mark's political theater.

After reading a misdemeanor complaint charging him with assault and obstructing a peace officer, Mark, a part-time Missoula resident, asked if he could change his plea at a later time if he pleaded innocent Tuesday.

After being told by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Dale Mrkich that he could, Mark pleaded innocent. Acting Justice of the Peace Cynthia Shott appointed the public defender's office to represent him.

Bail on the two charges was set at $1,000, but Mrkich told the court Mark was on probation in another state and that a federal arrest warrant could be pending if Mark gained his release.

According to newspaper records, Mark was sentenced to 60 days in jail in January for blocking a forest road in Idaho County, Idaho. A federal judge placed Mark on one year of supervised release.

Authorities came to court Monday prepared for a demonstration of support for Mark, but nothing happened. His next court appearance is set for Oct. 26.

Mick Holien
Accused Fish Thrower Faces Misdemeanors
Missoulian, September 19, 2000

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