- Written by John Plestina
The search has shifted to North Dakota for two unidentified men who committed a gunpoint robbery near Culbertson Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Roosevelt County Undersheriff John Summers said Monday, Aug. 18, that the McKenzie County, N.D., Sheriff’s Office [in Watford City] began searching for the two men Friday, Aug. 15, after Summers contacted them.
Summers said a resident of rural McKenzie County called the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office and said he had seen the suspect vehicle on a county road. He told Summers he learned of the search online.
Summers said the man attempted to follow the vehicle and the men took off.
The RCSO reported that two white males, believed to be in their middle 20s, robbed an individual with a pistol on the side of County Road 2054 north of Culbertson, about 8 a.m., on Wednesday, Aug. 13. They were seen later that morning headed southbound on the Lanark Road toward U.S. Hwy. 2.
“We’ve combed the area pretty good. We’ve canvassed the area,” Sheriff Freedom Crawford said at 4:30 p.m. on the day of the robbery.
He said the victim was re-interviewed to check details.
“The description that was given to us by the victim hasn’t changed,” Crawford said.
The vehicle is reported to be a black Ford pickup, possibly a 2000 model, with a temporary tag in the back window and a bullet hole in the tailgate.
One of the men was reported to have been wearing blue jeans and a gray sweater at the time of the robbery and the other was wearing a red shirt.
Anyone with any information should contact the RCSO at 653-6240. The telephone number for the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office is 701-444-3654.
- Written by John Plestina
Several people appeared before Judge David Cybulski in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Gary Ray Jones, 44, of Mesa, Ariz., was brought in on a bench warrant to answer a petition to revoke bond due to failure to comply with bail conditions.
He had been free on $40,000 bail, which Cybulski said no longer applies. Jones would have to put up an additional $40,000 bond to get out of jail.
He is charged with assault on a peace officer with injury.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Jeremy Sepanski, 30, of Plentywood withdrew not guilty pleas he had entered earlier this year and pleaded guilty to forgery, burglary and forgery by common scheme.
Sepanski is accused of illegally entering a house in Froid when no one was home on Jan. 20, stealing checks from the occupant of the house and attempting to cash them in a store in Froid.
Defense attorney John Wheatcroft said Sepanski is facing similar charges in Sheridan County and requested one pre-sentence investigation for charges in both counties. Roosevelt and Sheridan counties both are in the 15th Judicial District.
Cody Daniel Twomey, 20, of Culbertson was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, criminal endangerment and being under the influence of an intoxicating substance by a person under 21.
The alleged incidents occurred at a party spot southwest of Culbertson near the Missouri River that is nicknamed “Twights Bottom” on June 22.
Roosevelt County Undersheriff Sheriff John Summers reported that deputies responded to multiple 911 calls at about 3:30 a.m. reporting a male “flipping out and in possession of a firearm.”
Summers said several partygoers restrained the male until law enforcement arrived on scene.
A trial is scheduled for Nov. 13.
- Written by John Plestina
A California man who gave his last address as Williston, N.D., was sentenced on drug and firearms charges in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Nicholas Marino, 25, has been in the Roosevelt County Jail, charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possession of dangerous drugs, firearm possession by convicted felon and sale of dangerous drugs. He has been classified as a persistent felony offender.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Marino to 20 years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with 15 years suspended and credit for 316 days served, a recommendation that he be sent to a boot camp, a $10,000 fine and fees. The DOC boot camp is a 60-bed military format correctional facility for men located near Deer Lodge.
Marino is seeking transfer to a California institution, an issue the DOC might address.
He apologized for harm he might have brought to the community.
“I haven’t been the man my mother raised me to be,” Marino told the court. He said his crimes do not define him as a person. Acknowledging drug addiction, he said he is willing to work for his sobriety.
- Written by John Plestina
A level 3 sex offender from Wyoming is facing incarceration following an adjudication hearing in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
William B. Debbs, 43, of Casper, Wyo., was jailed earlier this year on several probation violations including failing to register as a sex offender and violent offender.
Debbs is listed on the National Sex Offender Registry as a level 3 sex offender and a “sexually violent predator.”
Debbs, who previously denied all allegations of probation violations, conceded to the violations., including moving to eastern Roosevelt County without notification and failing to register as a sex offender and violent offender, and consuming alcohol and marijuana. He was arrested at a bus station.
Probation officer Roland Smathers testified from Butte via teleconference with recommendations that a previous Montana sentence that Debbs was on probation for be revoked in its entirety and that Debbs be sentenced to 7½ years with five years suspended.
Judge David Cybulski found Debbs in violation.
Debbs has been in Montana State Prison and in the Montana State Hospital. The Department of Health and Human Services had released him to the Department of Corrections.
Debbs told the court he was violently assaulted twice in Montana State Prison and he feared for his life if he were sent back there.
Cybulski said he would try to refer Debbs to the state hospital but he might end up back in prison.
He was convicted in Wyoming of first-degree sexual assault and indecent liberties with a minor. The female victim was seven years old at the time of the assault, according to the registry.
The registry also lists Debbs with a Butte address.
- Written by Nancy Mahan
The Culbertson School board met in regular session on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Some items on the agenda were the bus barn heating options, snow flex days for the school year 2014-15, leave without pay, guest teacher applications and hiring more custodial staff.
It was decided not to increase the prices for breakfast and lunch.
Jeff Carda obtained the meter for Armstrong School, which was paid for by Culbertson. The north gym addition brick is up with the exception of the awning entrance.
Classrooms have been sheet rocked, textured and painted. Ceilings, lights and windows will be next.
The elementary wing has begun with stemwall and footings to be completed by the end of August.
The bus barn steel has been ordered. It will take several weeks for the steel to be delivered. Permits for construction of the barn are in the works.
In other business, the board:
● approved putting a ground source heating system in the bus barn;
● approved adding three additional days to the school calendar as “flex” days;
● discussed leave without pay and tabled the matter until next summer;
● approved membership in the Montana Quality Education Coalition;
● approved guest teacher applications for Alvina Olstead and Halvar Olstead;
● approved a Nemont request for an easement;
● approved hiring Steve Steege and Dani Green as custodians;
● approved hiring Tifney Kempton as the junior high/high school Title I aide;
● approved hiring Jeri Gustafson as speech and drama head coach, Tara Adams as high school golf coach and Dave Solem as high school track head coach;
● approved the coal delivery contract for James Obergfell;
● approved the budgets for the 2014-2015 school year;
● discussed goals for 2014-2015 and tabled the matter until the September board meeting;
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 6:30 p.m.