East Helena man charged with elder exploitation
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A 53-year-old East Helena man is charged with stealing more than $400,000 from an elderly woman over the past 13 years.
The Independent Record reports the theft was discovered when the 81-year-old woman was about to be evicted from her nursing home.
Ernest Norman Hughes was charged Tuesday with exploitation of an older person and theft. He did not enter a plea in Justice Court, where his bail was set at $250,000. His District Court arraignment is set for July 20. He requested a public defender.
Prosecutors say Hughes met the woman when she hired him to work around her former home.
Court records say an adult protective services worker learned that the woman had about $434,000 in her bank account when Hughes gained power of attorney over her finances in 2003.
Officials identify Bigfork girl killed in weekend crash
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County officials have released the name of a 17-year-old Bigfork girl who was killed in a weekend rollover crash on U.S. Highway 93 just north of Kalispell.
Sheriff Chuck Curry says Madison Brooke Duke died in the July 3 crash.
The Montana Highway Patrol says Duke was a passenger in a sport utility vehicle that went off the road just before 5 p.m. and rolled several times before coming to rest on its wheels and catching fire.
A passer-by pulled the driver and Duke from the SUV. Duke died of head injuries on the way to the hospital.
Officials: School better off without federal lunch program
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — The Bozeman School Board is standing behind its decision last year to discontinue the federal school lunch program at the high school after deeming the program’s nutritional rules too strict.
Supervisor of the school’s food service program Bob Burrows said last week there is now “better food and happier students.” School board trustee Heide Arneson agreed, saying fewer students would be eating at the cafeteria had the school stayed in the program.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the decision to let Bozeman High School leave the program caused the school to miss out on a federal subsidy.
While school meal sales have gone down this year, Burrows says sales of “a la carte” items have increased by about $148,000 and more students are buying from the cafeteria each day.
Suspect in fatal Billings shooting charged with homicide
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — One of two men suspected in the October shooting death of a 25-year-old man in Billings has been charged with deliberate homicide.
The Billings Gazette reports that 28-year-old Garrett Lee Crandell appeared in court Tuesday and was ordered held on $500,000 bond for the death of Clinton Old Bull.
The Laurel man had been arrested Friday.
Court records show the other suspect in the shooting, Ross Breshears, was arrested in November 2015 on federal weapons charges. He has pleaded guilty in the case and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Officers had found Old Bull on the ground outside an apartment complex on Oct. 16 with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
5 suffer burns after boat explosion at Swan Lake
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A weekend explosion on a boat at Swan Lake has left three children hospitalized with severe burns.
Josiah Wagoner of Kalispell says his brother, David Wagoner, was fishing on Swan Lake on Saturday with his wife, their baby daughter and 4-year-old son. Also with them were the Wagoners’ sisters — a 14-year-old and 10-year-old twins — and their 6-year-old nephew.
Josiah Wagoner tells the Flathead Beacon that as the group prepared to return to shore at about 5 p.m. Saturday there was an explosion and everyone was thrown into the water.
Wagoner says the twins and the 6-year-old were flown to a burn unit in Seattle. David Wagoner and the 14-year-old were treated locally for burns on their legs, but were traveling to Seattle for further treatment.
The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.
Experts: Prosecutors must weigh credibility of Beach accuser
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Legal experts and state officials say a man accused of sexually propositioning a 12-year-old girl after he was freed from prison would not have to be charged for his probation to be revoked.
Daile Claire Kindness filed a report with Billings police in January alleging Barry Beach made sexual advances on her daughter.
The accusation is under review by prosecutors and state officials. There are no charges against Beach.
University of Montana Law School Professor Andrew King-Ries says prosecutors must weigh the credibility of Kindness, who is on probation following a 2012 conviction for felony child endangerment.
Beach was placed on probation for ten years as a condition of the clemency granted him by Gov. Steve Bullock last November. He was convicted in 1983 for killing Kimberly Nees of Poplar, but had long denied any involvement.