1 of 2 remaining Doolittle Raiders dies in Montana
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — One of the last two surviving members of the Doolittle Raiders, who bombed Japan during World War II in retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor, has died in Montana.
Retired Staff Sgt. David Jonathan Thatcher died Wednesday in a Missoula hospital. He was 94. His son Jeff told the Missoulian newspaper his father had a stroke Sunday.
Thatcher’s death leaves Retired Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole of Comfort, Texas, as the only living airman among 80 who took off from an aircraft carrier for a 16-plane bombing mission that targeted military and industrial sites in Japan on April 18, 1942.
Thatcher was engineer-gunner aboard the plane nicknamed “The Ruptured Duck,” whose crew’s crash-landing and evasion of Japanese troops in China was depicted in the movie “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.”
2 accused of burning, strangling woman on Crow Reservation
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities have charged two people in the vicious assault of a woman who was beaten, strangled and set on fire on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.
DiMarzio Sanchez and Angelica Jo Whiteman appeared separately Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Billings before Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby on charges of assault with intent to commit murder. They did not enter pleas.
The victim has been identified by family members as RoyLynn Rides Horse.
FBI Special Agent Aaron Christensen says in a court affidavit that Rides Horse was at the Kirby Saloon in Kirby late on April 17 and got a ride home with the defendants.
Following an argument, Christensen says the two defendants beat and attempted to strangle the Rides Horse, then doused her with gasoline and set her on fire in a field east of Crow Agency.
Family hopes Bozeman woman’s killer gets life without parole
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — As a Bozeman man awaits sentencing for fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend, the victim’s family says her killer should have been eligible for the death penalty.
Anthony Fagiano is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to deliberate homicide and other charges in the March 9 death of 37-year-old Darcy Buhmann. Prosecutors say they plan to recommend a 160-year prison term for 35-year-old Fagiano.
Fagiano has admitted to breaking into Buhmann’s home in violation of a protective order and shooting her to death as she tried to hide in her closet.
Buhmann’s brother, Lennie, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle Tuesday their family hopes Fagiano receives the maximum sentence without parole. He says Fagiano’s actions warranted a death penalty case and the Legislature should “address this in the future.”
Woman gets 60 years for strangling man in Billings
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman who says she strangled her boyfriend inside their car in Billings because he told her he wanted to die has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
The Billings Gazette reports that Lindsay April Haugen was sentenced Wednesday in the death of 25-year-old Robert Glenn Mast. Haugen previously pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide.
Investigators say Haugen told them she and Mast were traveling from Olympia, Washington to North Dakota when they stopped in Billings on Sept. 15. She said Mast told her he wanted to die and she said she’d always wanted to try killing someone.
She told officers she put her arm around his neck and held his mouth and nose shut.
Haugen apologized to the victim’s family in court and said she deserved her sentence.
Coroner ID’s teen killed in rollover crash near Sidney
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Officials have identified an 18-year-old Billings man who died in a rollover crash on Montana Highway 16 north of Sidney.
Yellowstone County Deputy Coroner Cliff Mahoney says Christian Blake McGrail died in the single-vehicle crash Monday night.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, McGrail had been speeding and improperly passing traffic before the crash occurred. The patrol says the man’s pickup drove off the left side of the road, he overcorrected and the truck rolled before coming to rest on the right side of the highway.
The Billings Gazette reports that McGrail had been wearing a seatbelt. He was flown to a Billings hospital and pronounced dead.
The crash remains under investigation.
Researchers suggest ways to reduce jail, prison spending
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Researchers say Montana could reduce its spending on jails and prisons if detention facilities and treatment programs focused their services on those most likely to re-offend while others could be supervised by an increased number of probation and parole officers.
The Council of State Governments Justice Center also recommends that Montana use its pre-release centers more efficiently, create a standardized system to determine if offenders should be paroled, and make more timely parole decisions.
The Justice Center is presenting its recommendations to the Commission on Sentencing during its two-day meeting that started Wednesday.
Other recommendations include referring more cases for deferred sentencing and expanding problem-solving courts, like drug courts.
The council also recommends expanding eligibility for crime victim compensation benefits.