Woman pleads not guilty in Montana State student stabbing
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A woman has pleaded not guilty to stabbing a student in an apartment on the Montana State University campus.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 28-year-old Talena Fran Shoulderblade appeared in court Thursday on charges of assault with a weapon by accountability and obstruction of justice.
District Judge Mike Salvagni kept Shoulderblade’s bail at $25,000.
The unnamed 36-year-old student walked to the student union on Oct. 13 after he was stabbed in the neck. Medical personnel spotted him walking down the hall and provided assistance until an ambulance arrived.
Authorities say the man appeared to be intoxicated, was uncooperative and difficult to understand.
Officers found a blood-stained Shoulderblade and a man named Dylon Shoulderblade at the apartment.
Talena Shoulderblade told officers she didn’t do anything and tried to help the man after he was cut.
Duck hunter accused of shooting at other hunters
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Authorities say a duck hunter shot at two other hunters after their boat went through his decoys near Bigfork.
The Daily Inter Lake reports Brad Bell was charged Thursday with felony criminal endangerment.
Court documents say two hunters told deputies they were traveling up the Flathead River and their boat went through another hunter’s decoys.
They say the hunter later identified as Bell yelled at them and fired a shotgun 15 seconds later.
Their boat was damaged and the men were struck by shotgun pellets.
Bell told deputies he had seen a duck and shot at it. The newspaper reports Bell’s hunting partner could not verify that Bell had fired at a duck.
If convicted, Bell could face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Judge gives convicted rapist 4 life sentences
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Helena judge has given a 56-year-old man four life sentences in prison for raping a young girl.
The Independent Record reports District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock followed prosecutors’ recommendations in handing down the sentence Thursday to Dewayne Louis Lamb.
The life sentences will run concurrently.
Prosecutors say Lamb began inappropriately touching his victim when she was 12 and progressed to repeatedly raping her in several states and Montana counties.
Lamb pleaded guilty in September to four counts of sexual intercourse without consent. The four counts stem from four times he raped the girl while her family lived in Helena in 2012.
His victim told the judge that she is trying to overcome the demons Lamb gave her to battle. She says he deserves to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Audit finds railroad safety lacking during high oil traffic
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An audit finds that Montana’s railroad safety falls short at a time of high oil train traffic that is only expected to increase.
The Legislative Audit Division review released Wednesday concludes the Public Service Commission is not actively pursuing rail safety and does not have enough inspectors to adequately cover the state.
The commission is responsible for the supervision of railroads in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration.
The review also found weaknesses in statewide emergency planning and the ability to quickly respond to a hazardous materials spill, particularly in northeastern Montana.
However, it concluded the Montana Department of Transportation is adequately managing highway rail-crossing safety.
Officials from the commission and the Department of Military Affairs responded that they are limited by the budget and state law from following all of the report’s recommendations.
Death-penalty specialist allowed to represent Wyoming man
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A judge has granted a request for a death penalty specialist to represent an 18-year-old Wyoming man accused of killing a husband and wife on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Wednesday approved the motion to appoint attorney Donald Knight of Littleton, Colorado, after rejecting a previous request.
Originally, Watters said defendant Jesus Deniz Mendoza had three federal public defenders and failed to show why he needed another.
After the new request clarified that Federal Defender Anthony Gallagher is not acting as an attorney who is “learned in the law applicable to capital cases,” Watters granted Knight’s appointment.
Prosecutors are considering pursuing the death penalty against Mendoza for the July 29 killings of Jason and Tana Shane near Pryor.
The Worland man has pleaded not guilty.
Montana students’ scores dip on national tests
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana students did worse on a national test compared to when it was administered in 2013.
The Billings Gazette reports the eighth- and fourth-graders still did better than the national average in reading and math.
Fewer than 10,000 Montana students took the National Assessment of Educational Progress test this year.
In math, the fourth-graders’ scores decreased significantly compared to 2013, and eighth-graders’ scores dropped for the second time in a row.
In reading, the eighth-graders’ scores dipped slightly compared to 2013. The fourth-graders’ scores were slightly higher.
Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau says one year of a decline does not make a trend. She says the test is just one tool for measuring a sample of students, and it is not fully aligned with Common Core standards.
Parole board sends Barry Beach clemency request to Bullock
(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole has sent Gov. Steve Bullock a clemency request by a man convicted of killing a high-school classmate in 1979.
The Great Falls Tribune reports the board forwarded Barry Beach’s new request on Thursday after determining it was substantively similar to an application the board previously denied.
Beach attorney Peter Camiel says he is happy the board moved quickly and is looking forward to hearing from the governor.
A new law gives the governor the final decision in clemency requests instead of the parole board.
Beach was sentenced to 100 years in prison after being convicted of deliberate homicide in the beating death of 17-year-old Kim Nees in Poplar. He has steadfastly denied killing Nees, and his cause has been taken up by several current and former Montana politicians.
Man accused of killing child asks for change of venue
(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon, http://www.flatheadbeacon.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — An Evergreen man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son is asking a judge to move his trial to another city.
Brandon Newberry’s attorneys say in their request the March trial must be moved to a different populated area because of the misinformation, rumors and inflammatory news articles circulating in Flathead County.
The Flathead Beacon reports the attorneys filed their motion on Monday.
Newberry has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in the February death of Forrest Groshelle.
Prosecutors say Forrest died of laceration of the small intestine after being hit multiple times in the stomach.
The boy’s mother told deputies that Newberry had been watching Forrest while she worked.
If convicted, Newberry could face up to 100 years in prison.
Man killed in reported Billings shooting, suspect located
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Police say a man died after shots were fired in a Billings neighborhood.
Billings police officials say in a statement that officers responded to reports of gunfire at a home early Thursday morning and found a male victim.
Investigators also located a male suspect at the scene. They say they are investigating the death as a homicide but an arrest has not yet been made.
Neither the victim nor the suspect was immediately identified.
Sgt. Brian Krivitz says there is no threat to public safety.
It is the fifth homicide or suspicious death in Billings since Sept. 15.
Thursday’s shooting happened a block away from another one on Oct. 16.
Police officials say an initial investigation finds the two deaths are unrelated.
Man who killed father-in-law with hammer gets 40 years
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 37-year-old Polson man who killed his father-in-law by hitting him in the head with a hammer has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The Missoulian reports Desmond Alan Mackay was sentenced Thursday for the March 5, 2014, attack on 67-year-old John Barrows, also of Polson. Mackay pleaded guilty in September to mitigated deliberate homicide.
He has said he had been bullied by his brother-in-law and was waiting behind a door to hit him when Barrows walked in instead. Barrows was critically injured and died 10 days later in a Kalispell hospital.
During his sentencing hearing, Mackay said through tears, “I’ve destroyed my family. Sorry’s not good enough, but I’m sorry.”
Mackay will be eligible for parole in 25 years.
Court allows student to play football while case is pending
(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com)
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court says a Helena student may play football while his legal challenge to being banned by the Montana High School Association is pending.
The association previously ruled Capital High School student Tyler Taylor ineligible because he passed a high school equivalency test in May.
The association’s rules say anyone who receives a high school equivalency diploma is ineligible to play on a sports team.
Taylor sued, saying at 17 he did not meet the age requirement for an equivalency diploma.
The Independent Record reports the Supreme Court issued an injunction that temporarily blocks the association’s ban until the court hears the case.
Taylor may still be unable to play in Capital’s final regular-season game because a football player must practice at least 12 times before playing in a game.
Former US Senate candidate to run for state House seat
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — High school math teacher and former U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis has announced she’s getting back on the campaign trial, this time for the state Legislature.
Curtis is running for Butte’s House District 74 seat, currently held by Rep. Pat Noonan, D-Ramsay, who has reached his term limit.
She served as butte’s representative in House District 76 in 2013, but did not seek re-election in 2014. Instead she mounted a statewide campaign as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator. She lost by nearly 18 percentage points to Bozeman Republican Steve Daines.
Curtis says she loves her job in Butte and believes she can defend working families and labor rights in the Legislature.
Defense attorney says Montana woman died from accident
(Information in the following story is from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com)
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A defense attorney argues that a Montana woman’s death was an accident and is asking for charges against her boyfriend to be dismissed.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that attorney Todd Whipple says evidence is consistent with 33-year-old David William Hughes’ claim that 28-year-old Kerri Ann McKinney was trying to jump onto and enter his truck while he was driving away after an argument.
Whipple says prosecutors left out key medical findings in their affidavit and is asking the judge to dismiss the negligent homicide charge against Hughes.
Whipple says the medical examiner concluded that McKinney did not suffer injuries that would have been present if she was run over.
Gallatin County Deputy Attorney Eric Kitzmiller has not yet filed a response to the motion.