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Teen rape suspect jumps over court railing; in critical condition

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A 16-year-old Great Falls boy who had reached a plea agreement in the rape of an 11-year-old girl jumped from the third floor of the Cascade County Courthouse, landing on the tile of the second floor.

Great Falls Police Capt. John Schafer said Kaleb Kuebler jumped before his change-of-plea hearing scheduled for Thursday morning. A representative with Benefis Health System said Kuebler was in critical but stable condition.

Kuebler and prosecutors had reached a plea agreement recommending a sentence of 60 years in prison with 30 suspended if he entered an Alford plea. Under such a plea, a person does not acknowledge guilt but agrees prosecutors have enough evidence to gain a conviction.

District Judge Greg Pinski rejected the agreement Wednesday. Kuebler then agreed to plead guilty in exchange for the same sentencing recommendation.

County Attorney John Parker said part of the courthouse was shut down for the investigation. Pinski vacated all of his hearings scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The girl told police she was walking home from school last October when a boy grabbed her hat. He ran into an alley, getting her to chase him. Police said the boy sexually assaulted the girl and choked her before he ran away.

Kuebler, who was 15 at the time of the crime, was initially charged in Youth Court but prosecutors successfully petitioned to move the case to adult court.

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