FBI: Suspect in Montana shooting says victim laughed at him
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An FBI agent says a Wyoming man acknowledged to investigators that he shot a couple and their daughter on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.
Special Agent Larry McGrail II’s statement filed Thursday says Jesus Deniz opened fire because one of the victims laughed at him.
McGrail’s statement was filed with a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court seeking a murder warrant for the 18-year-old Deniz, also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza.
Deniz is being held in Wyoming after police arrested him near Meeteetse, about 120 miles away from the town of Pryor, where the shooting happened.
FBI spokesman Todd Palmer confirmed 51-year-old Jason Shane and 47-year-old Tana Shane were killed in the Wednesday shooting.
A relative, Ada Shane, says their daughter Jorah Shane was wounded when she ran from the man who had told them he was out of gas and needed assistance.
Court denies Yellowstone Club founder’s release from jail
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A court has denied a third emergency petition to release the founder of Montana’s Yellowstone Club from jail.
Wednesday’s decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means 65-year-old former billionaire Tim Blixseth will likely remain in the Cascade County Detention Center until an October hearing.
The Medina, Washington, resident has been in the Great Falls jail since April 20 on a judge’s contempt order. U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon says Blixseth has not accounted for $13.8 million from the sale of a Mexico resort.
Blixseth had been ordered not to sell assets while the Yellowstone Club’s bankruptcy was pending.
Blixseth says he has turned over the details of the 2013 sale. Haddon has ordered a trial-like hearing on Oct. 19 to determine whether those documents comply with his order.
Wyoming, Montana governors unsatisfied with sage grouse plan
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The governors of Wyoming and Montana say a federal plan to protect the greater sage grouse is far more restrictive than Western states’ own programs to help the struggling species.
They told the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday to rewrite major portions of a draft federal policy for protecting the ground-dwelling bird.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says the BLM is wrong to portray livestock grazing as a threat to sage grouse. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock says the federal plan would prohibit oil and gas leasing.
A court has told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide by Sept. 30 whether the birds need protection as a threatened or endangered species. A decision to list could severely restrict oil and gas drilling and other development in the region.
BNSF doubles train speeds through Miles City to 60 mph
MILES CITY, Mont. (AP) — Officials in Miles City are unhappy after BSNF Railway lifted its self-imposed speed restrictions and is now moving trains through town at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Miles City Mayor Butch Grenz says town residents are upset that trains are moving faster than 30 mph. Miles City sits between the rail hubs of Glendive and Forsyth and BNSF’s rail bisects the town. Grenz notes one crossing doesn’t have crossing arms.
BNSF spokesman Matt Jones says the company made the change earlier this month in the name of efficiency. He notes the Federal Railroad Administration has said the tracks through Miles City can handle trains traveling at up to 60 mph.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana asked BNSF officials to meet with Miles City residents to review the speed change. He says just because they can go that fast, doesn’t mean they should.
Montana Supreme Court upholds 24/7 Sobriety Program
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has upheld the state’s 24/7 Sobriety Program, saying charging associated fees for alcohol monitoring is not pretrial punishment in violation of the Constitution.
In its ruling Thursday, the high court says breath testing can be appropriate as a condition of pretrial release. But they likened the testing fees to bail and said a judge must do an individual assessment to determine whether the program is appropriate for a defendant.
Under the program, a judge can order people charged with a second or subsequent drunken driving offense to pay for twice-daily breath tests or an alcohol monitoring bracelet as a condition of their pretrial release.
The court’s decision comes after the state appealed a lower court ruling that said fees charged for the state’s 24/7 Sobriety Program amount to unconstitutional pretrial punishment.
Woman injured in MSU-Northern stabbings to leave hospital
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A 19-year-old Belgrade woman who was attacked in an off-campus apartment with two other Montana State University-Northern students is being released from the hospital.
Taylor Woolman’s father told the Great Falls Tribune that his daughter was scheduled to return home Wednesday after being released from Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado.
Woolman was attacked in the May 2 stabbings that also injured Sam Mix and Alicia Schneid. Mix was stabbed more than three dozen times, Woolman more than 20 times, including one that pierced her brain. Schneid was stabbed seven times.
A 17-year-old Havre boy is accused of attacking the three students with a knife. Justice Brown has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted homicide and one count of aggravated burglary. He will be tried as an adult.
Patrol cruiser damaged in Billings crash
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana Highway Patrol officer and a suspect he was transporting to the Yellowstone County jail were injured when a minivan turned in front of the patrol cruiser at a Billings intersection.
Billings police say the collision happened shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday.
The patrol says the trooper suffered minor injuries to his leg and the suspect was taken to the hospital for treatment of a broken wrist. Both vehicles sustained front-end damage.
The Billings Gazette reports the 22-year-old man driving the minivan was uninjured. Jail officers said Ryan Allen Schottler was booked into jail on suspicion of criminal endangerment, driving under the influence and possession of drug paraphernalia after the crash.
Bond set at $350,000 for man in hit-and-run
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A judge has set bond at $350,000 for a man charged with a hit-and-run collision that left a 72-year-old man in critical condition.
Thirty-one-year-old Jerry Edward Dickson was arrested Tuesday and charged with two felonies — tampering with evidence and accident involving death of personal injuries. He appeared in court Wednesday via video from the Gallatin County jail.
Dickson allegedly hit William Kasun with his car as Kasun was crossing an intersection in Bozeman. Court documents state that Kasun had been found more than 100 feet from where the vehicle struck him. He remains in a Billings hospital in intensive care.
Dickson is also on probation for a drug charge, which increased his bond by $100,000. A public defender representing Dickson argued that the bond was set too high.
Man, 25, killed in rollover crash in Browning
(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a 25-year-old man was killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Browning.
The Montana Highway Patrol says the Browning man, whose name has not been released, was thrown from his SUV when it went off a curve and rolled. The crash was reported at about 7 a.m. Thursday.
The Great Falls Tribune reports the driver died at the scene.
No other details have been released, and it’s unclear if speed or alcohol played a role in the crash.
Search still on for missing Yellowstone worker from China
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Search and rescue teams are continuing to search Yellowstone National Park for a seasonal worker from China who went missing July 23 while swimming.
The park says that 12 to 18 searchers as well as two teams of dogs and helicopters have continued to search for 21-year-old Feiyang “Isaac” Xiang. The seasonal park concessionaire is believed to be in a 6-mile segment of the Yellowstone River near its confluence with Hellroaring Creek.
Xiang of the Hubei province disappeared while swimming with friends in the river after the current pulled him away from the shore.
The area of the Yellowstone where Xiang is thought to be is known to have deep pools, rapids and rocks.
No signs of Xiang have been found.