Suspected squatter wanted after failing to show up for sentencing

June 6 – A woman accused of squatting in a vacant home outside Columbia Falls last year is now wanted on an arrest warrant and faces a felony bail jump charge after ignoring his conviction last week.

Ashley Katherine Coil, 37, was due to appear before Judge Danni Coffman on June 1 for her conviction on a single count of criminal mischief. In Coil’s absence, Coffman issued an arrest warrant at the request of prosecutors and set bail at $30,000.

Coil’s defense attorney, David Mattingley, told the court he could make no argument against the warrant application. Coil, he said, had a history of missed court hearings and failed to comply with an order asking him to file a pre-sentence investigation report.

Prosecutors also filed a new case against Coil following his absence, this time for felony bail. Coil was released on April 27 on the condition that she appear for all future court dates and stay in contact with her attorney, according to court documents. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in Montana State Prison.

Prosecutors first brought Coil on a felony burglary charge after a warden reported seeing people coming and going from an empty home near Montana 40 in October 2022. County Sheriff’s Office deputies Flathead met with Coil and a man, according to court documents.

Coil reportedly told deputies she came from a house she described as belonging to him. But a check of property records identified another person as the owner, according to court documents.

While authorities contacted the listed owner, deputies searched the home, finding signs that people had been living there for several days, including empty liquor bottles, according to court documents.

The man she was accompanying told deputies that Coil had invited him to what she described as her property several nights earlier, according to court documents.

Coil continued to claim she owned the property even as authorities earmarked it for the Flathead County Detention Center last year.

In April, Coil reached a settlement with prosecutors. In exchange for a guilty plea to criminal mischief, prosecutors agreed to recommend that she receive a five-year deferred sentence and pay $2,500 in restitution.

Managing Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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