Written by Herald-News
Chris Will sells her goods at the Wolf Point Optimists Club’s annual bazaar in the Wolf Point High School gym, Saturday, Dec. 6. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by Herald-News
Wolf Point Volunteer firefighters put out a fire that destroyed this 1987 Toyota parked on Custer Street at the corner of Fifth Avenue South Saturday, Dec. 6, at about 1:30 p.m. There were no injuries and the fire did not spread to an apartment building it was parked in front of, which fire chief Shawn Eggar said the car had just been parked when the fire started. The cause is not considered suspicious. (Photo by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
Avoiding the stigma of snitching and maintaining the criminal underground code of silence, Jeremy Thomas Sepanski was sentenced in 15th District Court to serve 10 years in Montana State prison, Wednesday, Dec. 10.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Sepanski, 30, of Plentywood to 20 years in Montana State Prison with 10 years suspended for burglary and five years on each of two forgery charges that would run concurrently with the 10-year sentence. Cybulski gave Sepanski credit for more than 300 days of time served in the Roosevelt County Jail.
Restitution Sepanski must pay after he is released could be reduced if eventually reveals the location of jewelry that was stolen during a burglary in Wolf Point in January.
Cybulski had continued the sentencing from Nov. 12, in an attempt to get Sepanski to reveal who he sold or gave the jewelry to.
The charging documents accuse Sepanski of illegally entering the Wolf Point home of Milton and Cynthia Berglee when no one was home Jan. 20, stealing several items of jewelry, including a wedding ring, and checks, and attempting to cash the checks in a store in Froid. Sepanski had been a friend of the Berglee’s son and had been a guest in the house prior to the burglary.
Sepanski withdrew not guilty pleas and pleaded guilty to forgery, burglary and forgery by common scheme during a hearing in August, after entering into a plea agreement.
Before imposing sentence, Cybulski asked Sepanski to reveal the location of stolen rings and other jewelry.
“I got rid of them, Your Honor,” Sepanski said.
Cybulski pressed Sepan-
ski for names.
“I don’t have any names. I’m not going to give names,” Sepanski said.
“To me, that shows a lack of remorse,” Cybulski said. “I’m really bothered by you not being willing to rat on someone you may have just given something to.”
Cybulski called Sepanski’s lack of willingness egregious and said there might not be a good chance of rehabilitation.
“[Sepanski] probably would have gotten a couple of years or less,” if he had revealed who had the jewelry,” Berglee said.
“The judge said he was going to throw the book at him and he did,” he said.
“I know from [ages] 30 to 40 ― that’s big years in a persons life,” Berglee said.
Berglee said he suspects that Sepanski either has the jewelry hidden with stolen property from other burglaries he doesn’t want the police to find or has pawned the items.
He said it is unlikely the jewelry would ever be returned.
“I thought the judge was very fair,” Berglee said. “I’m very happy with the justice system.”
He said he was also pleased with the investigation by the Wolf Point Police Department and the Roosevelt County Attorney.
Sepanski owes restitution to the Berglees for the value of the jewelry and two banks for stolen forged checks he cashed.
Sepanski has a plea agreement in an unrelated felony case in Sheridan County.
Written by John Plestina
The Wolf Point City Council was told that the environmental cleanup of the burned-out former Gysler Furniture and Appliance store site on Anaconda Street and Second Avenue South is about $40,000 over budget during the monthly council meeting Monday, Dec. 15.
Workers from Safetech Inc., a Billings asbestos abatement contractor, began work at the site during late October and had completed a substantial portion of the cleanup when winter weather forced them to stop in November. The project is on hold until spring and equipment that was at the site has been returned to Billings.
Local contractors might have an opportunity to bid on the remainder of the project.
Mayor Chris Dschaak said the city will not be responsible for additional costs that had not been budgeted for.
In other business, the council reappointed City Court Judge Traci Harada to another four-year term to coincide with the Justice Court position she was reelected to in November. Harada’s current municipal court position expires Dec. 31.
In another matter, councilwoman Laurie Evans suggested a contest of school children to rename O-Skat-E Park.
Written by John Plestina
A Wolf Point woman avoided prison time when she was sentenced in 15th District Court, Wednesday, Dec. 10.
Judge David Cybulski sentenced Amber Dawn Taylor, 29, to a deferred imposition of sentence in one drug case against her and five years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections with all five suspended in another. Taylor was not ordered to pay a fine, but she will pay fees and surcharges. She also must submit to drug testing.
A plea agreement called for Taylor to be placed into the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections for five years with three years suspended and a recommendation for long-term treatment at Elkhorn Treatment Center, a 47-bed residential treatment-based correctional facility in western Montana serving women, most of which are in DOC custody.
Cybulski had continued the sentencing from Nov. 12 after Probation and Parole officer Pam Heikens testified that Taylor should be ordered to substance abuse treatment as part of her sentence and asked Cybulski to delay imposition of sentence until an evaluation could be completed by Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center.
Heikens testified during the sentencing hearing that Taylor is eight months clean from drugs.
Taylor, who was arrested twice on drug charges, withdrew ‘not guilty’ pleas on five charges and pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs under a plea agreement where four charges were dismissed in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Earlier this year, Taylor pleaded not guilty to possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of drugs, driving while privilege is suspended or revoked and driving with no insurance, second or subsequent offense.
The first arrest came after a Wolf Point Police officer and a Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice drug investigator jointly stopped a car Taylor was driving at the corner of Idaho Street and Sixth Avenue South on Sept. 23, 2013.
The charging documents allege that the officers found crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, paraphernalia, more than 40 small plastic bags, a packaging device and other contraband in the car.
She was charged nearly a year ago with criminal possession with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Taylor was free on bond when a Montana Highway Patrol trooper arrested her a second time after a traffic stop at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 2 and Second Avenue North in Wolf Point on March 28. Three passengers were in her vehicle.
According to charging documents, the MHP trooper stated that Taylor smelled of burnt marijuana and that she admitted having a suspended driver’s license and no insurance.
The trooper seized several syringes, 98 small plastic jewelry bags, marijuana, a marijuana pipe and other paraphernalia, according to documentation from the court, that also alleges that one of the syringes contained a liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine.
Taylor pleaded not guilty to possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence, driving while privilege is suspended or revoked and driving with no insurance, second or subsequent offense.
Taylor served 168 days in the Roosevelt County Jail and has been free for a few months.