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Dickinson man's attempted murder charge reduced to Class A misdemeanor

A Dickinson man charged with attempted murder for shooting a victim in the chest four times with a 9 mm handgun last year had the charge lowered to a misdemeanor Thursday in Southwest District Court in Dickinson.

Michael Lewis Pope, 23, pleaded guilty to a Class A misdemeanor of reckless endangerment. Pope was sentenced to one year in prison with all of the time suspended for a period of two years. He will also be on supervised probation.

A hearing could be scheduled later this month to determine if restitution will be owed to the victim.

Stark County State's Attorney Tom Henning said it was clear that there would need to be negotiations because the defense was likely to claim self-defense, and the state would have had to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Henning said the incident ensued after Pope and the victim had consumed alcohol at hotel bar in Dickinson on Dec. 16.

The victim allegedly "became very intoxicated" and got in an altercation with someone at the bar. Pope was said to have stepped in and told the bar manager that they would be leaving with a friend Pope called to come pick them up.

When the car arrived, Pope got into the backseat and the victim got in front, but the victim eventually jumped into the backseat and struck Pope in the face and head. The driver of the vehicle eventually stopped and pulled the victim out, and Pope and the driver continued home and left the victim on the side of the road.

The victim showed up at the trailer where Pope and the driver resided and began striking a vehicle with an aluminum bat and threatening Pope's roommate, who had walked outside.

When Pope walked outside and saw what was happening, he got the handgun he legally owned and fired at the victim.

Pope's attorney, Kelly Armstrong, said after he fired, Pope went down and began crying, "Call the cops."

Alcohol may have also played a factor, both attorneys recognized. At the time of the incident, the victim's blood alcohol level was .24, while Pope's was .11, according to Henning.