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Brittany Lawonn, Published May 06 2008

Former Fargo attorney granted early release from prison; was convicted of aiming gun near police officer's head

FARGO - The North Dakota Parole Board has granted early release to a former attorney convicted of pointing a loaded and cocked gun less than 2 feet away from a police officer’s face.

Robert Merle Light will be released to Centre Inc. halfway house in Fargo on Aug. 18, according to Assistant Parole Board Clerk Pat Bohn.

Light, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the 2006 incident, will remain at the halfway house for the duration of his parole, which ends Dec. 21, Bohn said. He will then serve 3 years of supervised probation, Bohn said.

The board met Sunday and Monday in Bismarck. Light did not appear personally before the board. Light’s case went before the board in April as well, but he was denied an early release and his case was deferred to its May hearing due to the seriousness of the offense, Bohn said.

The board also gathered more information about the case, but Bohn would not disclose what that information was, saying it was confidential.

Light was sentenced in November on a Class C felony terrorizing charge and a misdemeanor concealed weapon charge for the Dec. 15, 2006, incident outside his brother’s downtown law office.

The officer found him parked outside the office two hours after his brother, Steven, reported Light had threatened him.

Light allowed the officers to search his vehicle but pulled a gun and said “here it is” when asked for identification.

Officers wrestled the gun away from him and no one was injured. Officer Mark Voigtschild, who had the gun pointed at him, has said he feared for his life during the incident.

Light has maintained he did not intend to terrorize anyone, but admitted he brandished the gun.

Light’s sentence on the misdemeanor charge expired on Nov. 15, so technically he was paroled on the terrorizing charge, Bohn said.

In November, the North Dakota Supreme Court suspended Light’s law practice license until further notice.