Court rejects request to block research ballot measure
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court has rejected a request to block a November ballot initiative that would authorize $200 million in state bonds over 10 years for medical research.
Three labor unions, a taxpayers’ group and three state legislators, had asked the high court to rule Initiative 181 unconstitutional. The plaintiffs say the measure violates the state constitution because it commits public money to a private group.
The initiative would create a Montana Biomedical Research Authority that could request up to $20 million a year for 10 years through state general-obligation bonds. The money would go to research in brain diseases, brain injuries and mental illness.
The Supreme Court issued its 5-0 decision Wednesday. It says state law does not allow the court to exercise original jurisdiction over challenges to an initiative’s constitutionality.
Helena man acknowledges killing 2 neighbors during argument
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Helena man accused of killing his upstairs neighbors because he thought they were being too loud has pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide.
The Independent Record reports 43-year-old Tilmon Nungesser IV entered his plea Thursday in the Feb. 20 shooting deaths of 40-year-old Robert Mishler and 42-year-old William Mishler, who were brothers. Nungesser is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7.
Officers found the Mishlers dead in the hallway near their apartment and Nungesser in the basement hallway with blood spatter on his face and clothes. Investigators say Nungesser confessed to the shooting and pointed out the shotgun used to officers.
Public defender Chris Abbott has said Nungesser was an honorably discharged Marine and past heroin addict.
Man dies after accidental shooting in Missoula
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a 20-year-old man is dead after an accidental shooting in Missoula.
Brenda Bassett, a spokeswoman for the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, says the man died Thursday evening after he was shot in the abdomen. She did not release any details about the circumstances of the shooting or if the man who died was the only one involved.
The county coroner is investigating the death.
Boy, 9, fatally shot at home in Belgrade
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a 9-year-old boy who was shot at a home in Belgrade has died.
Belgrade Police Chief E.J. Clark tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle the boy, whose name has not been released, was unresponsive when officers arrived at the scene Thursday morning. Clark says the weapon involved was a semi-automatic handgun, and at least one other boy was in the house when the shot was fired.
Investigators have not released any information about the circumstances of the shooting, and no one has been arrested.
USDA aids Maine organic farmers, helps vets learn farming
FREEPORT, Maine (AP) — Rep. Chellie Pingree says a pair of United States Department of Agriculture grants will help Maine’s young farmers learn their craft.
The two grants are Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program funds.
One is a grant of nearly $600,000 to Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport to expand the farm’s organic dairy farmer training program. The program allows apprentices to live on the farm while managing a herd of cows.
The other grant is a more than $200,000 pledge to the National Center for Appropriate Technology in Butte, Montana. Pingree says the money will fund a program that supports hundreds of beginning military veteran farmers in Maine and around the Northeast. She says the program includes a one-week “Armed to Farm” training program in sustainable agriculture.
Officers searching for missing man’s body find human remains
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — Investigators searching for the body of a missing military veteran have found human remains on property southwest of Great Falls where the killing apparently occurred.
Brandon Craft is charged with deliberate homicide in the February death of 28-year-old Adam Petzack. Petzack, who had been living in a rental unit on Craft’s property, was reported missing in March.
Charging documents say investigators determined Craft was receiving money removed from Petzack’s bank account shortly after his disability payments were made via direct deposit. Officers questioned Craft, and court records say he confessed to killing Petzack, hiding his body, pawning the rifle and selling his truck.
Investigators say Craft drew a map where Petzack’s remains could be found.
The remains were located Thursday and were taken to the state crime lab in Missoula for autopsy and identification.