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An Idaho man won’t plead guilty to shooting, prisoner escape

Nicholas Umphenour will appear in 4th District Court for arraignment on Wednesday. Charged with several crimes in the shooting of corrections officers and the escape of an inmate from Idaho prison, Umphenour remained silent in court and declined to enter a plea.

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Nicholas Umphenour, 28, the Idaho man accused of shooting corrections officers while helping an inmate escape while being treated at a Boise hospital, remained silent when asked to enter a plea Wednesday afternoon.

Standing still, also called standing mute, means the defendant refuses to enter a plea. Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, as required by Idaho law.

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Standing still is an unusual but not unheard of legal move. It was recently used by high-profile murder suspect Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Moscow.

Nicholas Umphenour could be sentenced to more than 65 years in prison if found guilty of all charges against him. The judge argued on his behalf in court on Wednesday. Darin Oswald [email protected]

Umphenour’s case will progress to a jury trial, which Baskin said will begin on October 21.

Umphenour said little during his arraignment at the Ada County Courthouse. He acknowledged that he understood when Baskin told him he could face life in prison if found guilty of his alleged crimes and enhancements.

Umphenour is accused of ambushing Idaho Department of Correction officers at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise to allow inmate Skylar Meade, 31 — who was being treated for self-inflicted wounds — to escape from custody on March 20. Boise police said Umphenour shot two of the officers, while a third was accidentally shot by police.

Umphenour faces three counts of assault or battery on officers, one count of aiding an escape, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm and enhancements for using a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony and for being a persistent offender.

According to Idaho State Police, officers arrested the two men on March 21 in the Twin Falls area. Authorities said they also linked the two men to two murders in North Idaho — one in Nez Perce County and another in Clearwater County — that occurred while they were at large.

Prosecutors have not yet charged anyone in these killings.

Profile image of Sally Krutzig

Reporter Sally Krutzig covers local government, growth and breaking news for the Idaho Statesman. She previously served in the Idaho State Legislature for Postal Service.

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