- Written by John Plestina
District Judge David Cybulski sentenced three people to sentences that that include fines and probation, but avoid prison as long as they stay out of trouble during law and motion proceedings in 15th District Court Wednesday, April 29.
Shelby Lynn Rider is the second person accused in the drugs by deception case that occurred at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson in June.
Cybulski sentenced her to a five-year deferred imposition of sentence on a felony drug possession charge and six months deferred imposition of sentence on a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Other counts were dismissed under a plea agreement.
Rider and Jesse Gottschalk, both 22 and both from Algonac, Mich., and currently living in North Dakota, faced separate companion cases.
Both withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to felony drug possession charges during recent months. Both admitted in court to allegations that they together attempted to obtain drugs from RMC on June 25, 2014 by making false claims.
Each had been free on $20,000 bond since August and both have signed waivers of extradition.
Gottschalk received a similar deferred imposition of sentencing when Cybulski sentenced him Jan. 28.
Cybulski sentenced Jodee Rae Scott, 53, of Poplar to terms in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections of one, 10 and five years, all to run concurrently, with all prison time suspended, and $13,500 in fines.
The sentence followed terms of a plea agreement where Scott pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fleeing from or eluding a peace officer, felony tampering with evidence and felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
The incident that led to the charges occurred in Culbertson April 4, 2013. She has been free on bond.
Cody Twomey, 20, of Culbertson received a seven-year sentence to the custody of the Montana DOC, all suspended, and a $10,000 fine.
Twomey withdrew previously entered not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to criminal endangerment Sept. 10. The original charges were aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, criminal endangerment and being under the influence of an intoxicating substance by a person under 21, all stemming from an incident that occurred June 22 at a party spot southwest of Culbertson near the Missouri River that is known as “Twight’s Bottom.”
The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office reported that deputies responded to multiple 911 calls at about 3:30 a.m., reporting a male threatening others with a shotgun.
- Written by John Plestina
The Poplar man who police say caused the death of a 15-year-old girl when a pickup truck he was driving broke through the ice on the Missouri River nearly five months ago has pleaded guilty.
Wyatt Cameron Montclair, 20, pleaded guilty in late April to a single count of involuntary manslaughter in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. A federal grand jury had indicted him.
According to the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, the Ford pickup traveled about three-quarters of a mile on the river that was not completely frozen before breaking through the ice about five miles south of Poplar and beginning to sink Dec. 17, 2014.
Jessica Keiser of Poplar was one of four teens –– three females and one male –– who were inside the pickup with Montclair.
They all managed to get out of the truck. Montclair and three of the teens made their way safely to the shore. Keiser was swept away by the current and remained missing for more than four months.
Divers were unable to locate her in December.
FPTDLJ supervisory criminal investigator Ken Trottier told The Herald-News that two fisherman on the river west of Fort Kipp Friday, April 24, observed what appeared to be a body in the water and called 911. The FPTDLJ and MHP responded and recovered Keiser’s remains 1 to 1½ hours later. Trottier said she has been positively identified. An autopsy was completed and does not change charges against Montclair.
Keiser’s remains were recovered a few days after Montclair pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with her death.
The FPTDLJ arrested Montclair in December on a U.S. Marshal’s warrant. He was on pre-sentence release for a burglary conviction at the time the pickup went into the river. Montclair was initially charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court with manslaughter and driving under the influence. He was transferred to federal custody in the Cascade County Regional Jail.
Trottier told The Herald-News in December that Montclair’s blood-alcohol level was 0.197, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 at which a person is considered legally intoxicated.
The potential maximum penalties are eight years incarceration, a $250,000 and three years supervised release. According to the charging documents, federal law allows for 10 years imprisonment to run consecutive to prison time for any other offense if the crime occurred while on release.
Under the plea agreement, the government recommends that Montclair’s offense level be decreased by two levels for acceptance of responsibility and will move for an additional single level. It was not clear what his sentence could be.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
CHS students pictured are (from left to right) Ashtyn Ator, Fallon Sun Rhodes, Rachael Gilbert and Dakota Smith. (Submitted photo)
Junior high students in Culbertson have been busy making posters, gathering sponsors and preparing for a Color Fun Run.
Earlier this year they had a fellow classmate, who lost a baby brother shortly after birth. Students wanted to show their support but weren’t sure how. The family is participating in a walk raising funds for the Ramsey Keller Memorial Foundation, that will pay the funeral expenses and give money towards a memorial stone for all children a year and under who leave us too soon.
After realizing it wasn’t possible to attend the walk, students decided to have their own walk. They want to host an event for all ages and all communities to participate in an activity together and celebrate life while ending the school year on a positive note.
It will be Tuesday, May 19, at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds in Cul-
bertson with registration starting at 3:30 p.m., and the race at 4:30 p.m. In addition to the run, there will be a color party at the fairgrounds complete with games, vendors and fun activities for all, including a photo booth with some great props.
Since the planning has begun, two other families in the area have contacted the school who have been beneficiaries of the Ramsey Keller Memorial Fund.
All of the proceeds will be given directly to the Ramsey Memorial Foundation.
To help or to register online, visit http://jaxensjoggers.wix.com/official or contact the JMG classroom at CHS at 787-6241.
- Written by Culbertson Searchlight
The Culbertson National Honor Society held their new member induction ceremony Monday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m., in the school lunchroom. This year’s members helped new Honor Society Advisor Karen Toavs welcome eight new members. Pictured are this year’s NHS (from left to right) Nica Granada, Emily Neilsen, Samantha Fellman and advisor Toavs with new members Hannah Bawden, Alexi Bidegaray, Renee Granada, Adam Buxbaum, Eric Hendrickson, Cameron Lambert, Ethan Hendrickson and McKade Mahlen. (Submitted photo)
- Written by John Plestina
The Montana Supreme Court handed down a 4-3, 68-page decision May 5 rejecting former Poplar resident Barry Beach’s petition be re-sentenced for his conviction of a 1979 beating death, a crime Beach denies any guilt for.
Beach’s attorneys filed the petition in October and Montana’s highest court heard oral arguments Feb. 4.
Beach sought relief from a 100-year prison sentence he had received in 1984 for the 1979 murder of Kimberly Nees, a Poplar High School classmate.
His attorneys argued that Beach, now 53, was 17 years old when the murder occurred 36 years ago and that a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court decision created limits on life sentences given to juveniles.
The high court, however, ruled that the 2012 federal Supreme Court decision could not be applied to cases prior to 2012.
While the Supreme Court petition failed to garner a new sentencing and Beach has tried unsuccessfully twice for clemency before the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole, including in 2014, his possible freedom might have been legislated in the halls of the Montana State Capital earlier this year with the passage of House Bill 43 that Gov. Steve Bullock signed into law, granting governors final authority in clemency decisions.
The new law that will take effect Oct. 15 will grant the governor clemency powers similar to those held by a majority of governors and allow the governor to release state prisoners, even if the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole previously denied clemency applications.
Currently, Montana’s Board of Pardons and Parole is one of only eight in the nation that have the final say on clemency petitions.
Bullock wrote to that board in April 2014 while a clemency application was pending for Beach saying he believed Beach deserved an opportunity for rehabilitation outside of prison.