Wolf Point Herald

Judge Denies Motion To Suppress Evidence Against Fowler

Judge David Cybulski denied a motion to suppress evidence against Dale Robert Fowler in 15th District Court Wednesday, May 14. Fowler’s attorney, Mark Epperson, alleged that a police search of a bedroom was unlawful and that drugs and paraphernalia found during the search should not be admissible in court. Fowler, 60, of Wolf Point, has been free on bail since he pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs Oct. 30. Charging documents identified the drug as methamphetamine. He was also charged with misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, alleged to be marijuana, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. According to charging documents, the search in question stems from WPPD Sgt. Ryan Michaelsen and Fort Peck Department of Law and Justice Officer David Gonzalez responding to a residence where Fowler was living at 430 Fairweather St. to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance in progress. “The initial report was of a domestic assault,” Michaelsen testified and added that he learned that Shantelle Schaeffer, alleged to have been Fowler’s girlfriend at the time, was wanted on a tribal court arrest warrant. Michaelsen said Schaeffer had dried blood on her face. He said she told him she had a verbal argument with Fowler and he had assaulted her. Schaeffer was arrested on the warrant and was found to have drug paraphernalia in her possession. She was transported to the tribal jail. Michaelsen said Fowler was taken into custody for domestic abuse. He said Schaeffer gave him permission to enter the bedroom she shared with Fowler. Michaelsen said there was an odor of marijuana in the room, dried blood on the bed, a marijuana cigarette on plain view on a dresser top and drug paraphernalia in the bedroom. A search warrant was obtained to further search the bedroom. Assistant Roosevelt County Attorney Jordan Knudsen asked Michaelsen if he asked permission of Fowler’s mother (the homeowner who lived at the residence) to search the bedroom and he responded that he had. The mother testified that she told officers drugs would be found in the room because her son is diabetic and was recovering from a gunshot wound at the time. Knudsen said Schaeffer’s statement to Michaelsen that there were illegal drugs in the bedroom led to probable cause. He asked Cybulski to deny the motion to suppress the evidence. “By making the statement that the drugs were in the bedroom that she shared with the defendant, she exposed her self to liability,” Knudsen said. Fowler remains free on bond. Wolf Point officers arresting him April 2 on a warrant out of McCone County following a traffic stop at Sixth Avenue South and Main Street for a stop sign violation and driving while license was suspended or revoked, according to information provided by the WPPD.