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Renowned artist pleads not guilty to criminal endangerment

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Aug. 6—Famed local artist Nicholas Oberling, still wearing an orange inmate’s uniform, pleaded not guilty to felony criminal endangerment in Flathead County District Court on Aug. 4.

Oberling, 59, appeared before Judge Robert Allison with defense attorney Sean Hinchey at his side for his arraignment. After accepting the plea, Allison set an omnibus hearing for Nov. 2, with a pretrial conference to follow on Nov. 16.

Oberling, known for his landscape paintings, is accused of wiring his soon-to-be ex-significant other’s shower soap dish to deliver a shock. Deputies with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office responded to a U.S. 2 home in Hungry Horse on July 23 after she allegedly found two stripped wires running into the soap dish, but not before receiving several shocks.

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Deputies followed the wiring to a patch in the drywall, court documents said. On the other side, the wiring was bent around another strand of cables, which were plugged into an outlet, according to court documents.

The victim told deputies she contacted Oberling after getting shocked and confronted him. He allegedly came over and told her he was trying to shock her. The two then fought over her phone, she told deputies, according to court documents.

If convicted, Oberling could receive 10 years in Montana State Prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

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As of Aug. 5, Oberling remained in the Flathead County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or [email protected].

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