Written by John Plestina
A little more than four months after the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole rejected a clemency application from former Poplar resident Barry Beach, his attorney filed a petition asking the Montana Supreme Court to order that he be re-sentenced with consideration that Beach was 17 years old at the time of the offense he was convicted of.
Beach, now 52, was accused of the 1979 beating death of Poplar High School classmate Kim Nees and dumping her body in the Poplar River. He was convicted in 17th District Court in Glasgow in April 1984 and sentenced to 100 years. Beach has maintained his innocence for 35 years.
The Supreme Court petition, filed Thursday, Oct. 23, argues that the 1984 sentence is cruel and unusual, and amounts to a life sentence. The appeal has been reported to be in part based on a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring judges who impose sentences to take into consideration that minors are not as responsible for crimes as adults and more likely than adult offenders to be reformed.
Beach’s attorney, Peter Camiel of Seattle, Wash., said in June there were court options he was considering that included the Montana Supreme Court and the federal court system. He did not elaborate further.
“While we are done with the parole board, we are not done,” Camiel said in June.
Written by Herald-News
(Editor’s Note: The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office distributes an inmate roster each week with charges and communities of residence to The Herald-News to help keep the public informed and to illustrate that the jail has been dealing with overcrowding issues in the 17-bed facility.)
As of Oct. 27, 17 inmates were housed in the Roosevelt County Jail. Valley County Detention Center was holding two female inmates and the Fort Benton Detention Center was holding three males.
The RCSO reported that the following individuals were incarcerated at the jail between Oct. 21-Oct. 27:
•Adam Alonzo, 31, Williston, N.D./San Bernadino, Calif., criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell;
•Malinda Bibb, 31, Minot, N.D., arrested on a warrant for bail condition violation, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Brandon Bigham, 30, Minot, N.D., criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell; criminal possession of dangerous drugs;
•David Ciorrocco, 49, Miami, Fla., driving a motor vehicle while suspended, and displaying fictitious license plates;
•Scott Crain, 27, Froid, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, obstructing a peace officer and misdemeanor criminal mischief;
•Kristy L. Daugherty, 29, Wolf Point, arrested on warrant;
•Joshua Eagle, 20, Poplar, criminal contempt, arrested on a federal warrant, transferred to Great Falls;
•Kyle Fuchs, 32, Culbert-
son, disorderly conduct, partner family member assault, assault with weapon, unlawful restraint, criminal endangerment;
•Alexander Jirone, 33, Rapid City, S.D., criminal endangerment, fleeing or eluding a peace officer, speeding on non-interstate-exceed night speed limit, operating with expired registration, operating without liability insurance;
•Gary Jones, 44, Madisonville, Tenn., assault on a peace officer;
•Dustin Kinzie, 20, Wolf Point, criminal production/manufacture of dangerous drugs, criminal endangerment, criminal possession with intent to distribute, criminal endangerment;
•Jason Knight, 37, Spokane, Wash., criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Gabriel Lopez, 19, partner/family member assault, released;
•Timothy Oglesby, 31, Hot Springs, Ark., out-of- county warrant;
•Michelle Parker, 41, San Diego, Calif., arrested on bench warrant;
•Jesse Antonio Rodriguez, 20, Wolf Point, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal production/manufacture of dangerous drugs, criminal possession with intent to distribute, criminal endangerment;
•Victor Romero, 47, Wolf Point, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon;
•Jeremy Sepanski, 30, Plentywood, forgery, theft, obstruction of a peace officer;
•Kelly Severson, 47, Saco, criminal possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia;
•Kalob Trowbridge, 22, Wolf Point, assault on a peace officer;
•Scott Varner, 22, Crawfordville, Fla., criminal possession with intent to distribute;
•Hilrio Velasquez, 33, Riverside, Calif., possession of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Written by Herald-News
(Editor’s Note: The following blotter is a partial list of activities involving the Wolf Point police and volunteer fire departments between Oct. 20 and 26. All those arrested or cited are presumed innocent.)
1:05 a.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 200 block of Anaconda Street and arrested Kristy Daugherty, 29, of Wolf Point on a warrant.
2:09 a.m., officers responded to the Sherman Inn for a report of theft and arrested a 15-year-old Wolf Point male for theft and a curfew violation.
3:39 a.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Edgar Street for a report of an attempted burglary and cited Tabbery McConnell, 35, of Wolf Point and Cody Spaur, 25, of Wolf Point for criminal trespass.
6:23 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 700 block of First Avenue North and arrested Clancie Sorensen, 46, of Wolf Point for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to sobriety testing and resisting arrest.
8:01 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Sixth Avenue South for a report of a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
11:06 p.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Main Street for a report of a theft from a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
12:04 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Dawson Street for a report of trespassing. The investigation continued at press time.
12:48 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Fairweather Street for a report of a theft with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
2:44 p.m., officers responded to the 500 block of Custer Street and arrested Steven Follette, 34, of Wolf Point on a warrant.
9:38 p.m., officers responded to the 300 block of Second Avenue South for a report of a theft from a residence with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
1:08 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Main Street for a report of a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident and cited Joshua Staggenborg, 28, of Wolf Point for hit and run and no insurance.
7:19 p.m., officers responded to Arlo’s Bar for a report of a disturbance in progress and arrested Victor Romero Jr., 47, of Wolf Point for carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct.
4:50 p.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Helena Street for a report of a disturbance in progress and arrested Daniel Schauer, 23, of Wolf Point for disorderly conduct.
5:16 p.m., officers responded to Git ‘n’ Go for a report of a theft. Charges are pending against a Wolf Point male.
9:10 p.m., officers responded to the Wolf Point High School football field and removed two unruly Plentywood fans from the stands. Police said the two male fans are banned from Wolf Point High School property for one year.
11:14 p.m., officers responded to U.S. Hwy. 2, just east of Wolf Point for a report of a disturbance in progress and arrested Lewis Siljenberg, 21, of Wolf Point for disorderly conduct.
Late on Oct. 24, officers conducted a traffic stop on U.S. Hwy. 2, near Cenex West, and cited Blake Martinez, 21, of Wolf Point for driving without a license and driving with no insurance.
1:37 a.m., officers responded to the Homestead Inn for a report of a disturbance in progress and arrested a 17-year-old Wolf Point female for disorderly conduct and minor in possession of alcohol, Shanna Bear, 19, of Wolf Point for minor in possession of alcohol and leading to the delinquency of a minor and Lucas Hamilton, 20, of Wolf Point for domestic abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police also reported that Hamilton sustained minor injuries.
4:12 a.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Dayton Street for a report of a theft from a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
10:53 a.m., officers responded to the 400 block of Eureka Street for a report of a theft from a vehicle with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
11:41 a.m., officers responded to the 200 block of Custer Street for a report of vandalism to a vehicle. Charges are pending against a Wolf Point male.
5:36 p.m., officers responded to Albertson’s for a report of an attempted theft with a loss valued under $1,000. The investigation continued at press time.
10:49 p.m., officers conducted a traffic stop on the 200 block of Fourth Avenue South and arrested Kari Miller, 31, of Wolf Point on a warrant.
In addition to the above calls, the WPPD responded to the following calls between Oct. 20 and 26: checks of wellbeing, seven; civil standby, three; domestic disturbance, seven; public assistance, seven; motor vehicle accidents, one; removal of unwanted individuals, 10; animal complaints, one; medical assistance, one; fire assistance, two; alarm, two; assist other agency, two; unfounded report, 10; driving complaints, two; amd school requested assistance, one.
Written by John Plestina
Sheriff Jason Frederick and Sheriff’s Office employee Tina Bets His Medicine field questions on the proposed jail during the public meeting in Wolf Point. (Photo by John Plestina)
Sheriff Jason Frederick and the Roosevelt County commissioners urged voter support for the jail bond that will be on the upcoming General Election ballot during a public meeting in Wolf Point, Tuesday, Oct. 14. Similar meetings were held last week in Bainville, Culbertson, Froid and Poplar.
County officials say the need to replace the aging jail is critical due to overcrowding and outdated facilities, as well as the county being at risk of being forced to close the facility because of potential liability. If that happens, the cost to taxpayers could be substantially higher than a mill levy increase that would be necessary to fund construction and operational costs.
Frederick said legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union forced Roosevelt County to reduce the number of jail beds by nearly one half.
A previous attempt to gain voter approval for a jail bonding measure failed at the polls in June due to a voter turnout that was too low to meet the legal state requirement. That bonding issue received 57.93 percent [986-716] of the votes cast. The voter turnout was 34.88 percent.
The bonding measure will again ask voters to authorize the commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years.
The projected mill levy increase would add $42.68 annually to the taxes on a residence assessed at $100,000.
At issue is a jail built over 40 years ago that cannot accommodate current needs, does not meet current Montana jail standards, cannot comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act and it is difficult to separate misdemeanor and felony inmates. Recent inmate populations have been about 90 percent felons.
Despite recent upgrades the Sheriff’s Office calls band-aid fixes, the jail is said to be unsafe for staff, inmates and the public.
Jail administrator Melvin Clark expressed concern for the safety of misdemeanor offenders that might be serving short jail sentences with a preponderance of felons with violent histories they cannot be separated from.
“If you’ve got a local guy for a DUI overnighter housed with felons there is a risk they could get beat up,” Clark said.
The current jail also cannot accommodate juveniles, medical isolation, segregation of prisoners with mental health issues or any inmate special needs.
Clark said the current condition and safety concerns for staff has scared off several job applicants.
The jail that was built in 1972 that includes 109-year-old metal cells that were moved from the former jail that was built during the 1940s, and located in the current courthouse parking lot. The metal cells were a World War I era shipboard Navy brig.
Frederick cited the weekly jail roster that is published in The Herald-News and The Searchlight, which demonstrates that the jail is packed beyond capacity and that Roosevelt County is paying other counties to house inmates.
“You’re not going to see may local names on there,” Frederick said.
The majority were arrested in the eastern part of the county for drug offenses that are said to be Bakken Oilfield related.
Frederick said Roosevelt County is paying for inmates to be housed in two other counties. He cited the cost of keeping inmates in Glasgow and Fort Benton that includes nightly rental of jail beds and transporting inmates between the jail sites and court dates in Wolf Point. That includes the costs of fuel, labor hours for deputies, meals and sometimes lodging that is incurred when transporting inmates.
Frederick presented The Herald-News with a copy of an invoice from the Valley County Sheriff’s Office for housing two female inmates for 31 days during August. The cost to Roosevelt County was $2,015 for each inmate totaling $4,030 for two inmates for one month. That cost would be nearly $50,000 for two inmates for one year.
“Just for a month, it cost us $4,030 just to house two prisoners there [Glasgow],” Frederick said.
In addition to Valley County holding two females, the Fort Benton Detention Center has continuously held one or more male inmates for Roosevelt County as needed.
Other jails are full or nearly full.
“Right now, we are between a rock and a hard spot. We have to find a way to build a jail,” Frederick said.
“The question is: in five years, will we have places to take them?” Dennis Kimmie, an Illinois-based jail planner who is working with the county, said.
“If it doesn’t pass, you’re stringing it out until 2018-19 or beyond,” he said.
Kimmie cautioned that if the county has to wait longer to build a jail, construction costs could increase.
County Commissioner Duane Nygaard said Daniels and Sheridan counties both have a 48-hour hold before having to transfer inmates to other counties and McCone County has no jail.
Frederick was asked what it might cost if voters do not approve the jail bond and Roosevelt County Jail is forced to close the current jail.
He said it would cost Roosevelt County a lot more in the long run.
“I don’t think you could put a dollar amount on it. Our budget couldn’t hold it up,” Frederick said.
The proposal that will be before voters is to remodel the existing sheriff’s office and jail facility behind the Roosevelt County Courthouse with an addition, a less expensive option than building a completely new facility at a different site because it would reduce construction expenses and eliminate site acquisition costs. It would also retain the jail in close proximity to courtrooms, minimizing transportation costs.
The addition would provide a 60-bed jail that would be compliant with all standards.
The bonding includes the costs of designing, building, equipping and furnishing the jail and office space. The proposed facility would include an “eyes-on” master control center, booking area, medical isolation area and several Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant cells. An E-911 communications center would be included in the facility.
Frederick said with the increased number of jail beds that would exceed current need, Roosevelt County could rent space to other counties as a revenue source.
The larger jail could generate revenue by accepting inmates from other counties and would be large enough to handle a much higher volume of local offenders as increases in crime are projected.
The current 17-bed jail has a rated jail capacity, per state standards, of only 11 beds. The jail averaged 15 inmates per day in 2012, with occasional peaks as high as 20.
If voters approve the measure, the design phase of the project is slated to begin in January 2015, construction during the fall of 2015 and completion in 2017.
A Montana Board of Crime Control study for Roosevelt, Daniels, Richland and Sheridan counties, labeled by MBCC as the primary Bakken Oilfield region of Montana, shows an increase in criminal offenses between 2008 and 2012 of 218 percent and an increase in arrests for the same period of 173 percent. Roosevelt County arrests rose 187 percent during the same period, the per capita crime rate for the four-year period went from 25 percent below the state average to 56 percent above and reported the highest percentage of increased crime in the region with 48.5 percent.
The MBCC study also projects a population increase for Roosevelt County of between 11 and 40 percent during the next 15 years.
Written by John Plestina
This rendering shows the layout of the planned Wolf Point Village apartment complex.
Whether or not being on the edge of the oil belt housing crunch has impacted Wolf Point is uncertain, but the developer of the planned 24-unit Wolf Point Village rental complex expressed disappointment last week following a second round of high construction bidding that exceeded his budget. That disappointment might have been short-lived as an investor became involved in the project, Monday, Oct. 20.
“As of 4:30 p.m., today, Jon, the developer, has a new investor,” Brianna Vine, of Great Northern Development Corp., told the Wolf Point City Council that night.
She said the investor will be told that a groundbreaking must be held soon for the project to proceed on schedule.
The unnamed investor from Irvine, Calif., will purchase tax credits, according to Vine.
She said Pacific West Construction of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was the lowest bidder. The amount of that bid was not divulged publicly.
GNDC is administering a federal HOME Program grant for $750,000 for the development and construction of the project that is anticipated to be complete and open to tenants by summer 2015.
Developer Jonathan Reed of Jonathan Reed & Associates of Colorado, Springs, Colo., told The Herald-News Thursday, Oct. 16, that bidding came in above his budget.
“With all said and done, we’re still $450,000 to $500,000 short,” Reed said.
Reed said he wanted to assure the Wolf Point community that he wants to move forward with the project.
“We had 26 letters of support from people all over town,” Reed said.
He said if the project cannot be bid within his budget or additional funding is not found, the community could lose out on needed new housing with the shortage of affordable rental housing in Wolf Point.
“People don’t want to bid. They can go to Williston and make more,” Reed said.
“I think were starting to see that a little bit. We’re still on the outskirts of that but it’s starting to enter into our area,” Vine said.
Wolf Point mayor Chris Dschaak said it might not be fair to say builders are looking to Williston for more lucrative contracts.
This is a fair market area,” Dschaak said.
Some costs are higher than in other areas.
“Everything has to be shipped here,” Dschaak said. “I understand [Reed’s] frustrations.”
He noted that the city has time and money invested into the project.
Dschaak said there could be additional funding sources.
“There’s a problem with affordable housing in Wolf Point. There’s not a lot of it,” he said.
“If this does not happen, it’s going to be a big blow,” Dschaak said.
“We’re giving the development team, which includes several entities with the state and the developer, more time. We just need some time to get all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place,” Vine said Friday, Oct. 17.
She said the second round of bidding was better than the first round during the summer but the bids still came in high.
Vine said high bids came from both local contractors and some from out of state.
Plans are to build four one-bedroom units, 12 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units on the north side of town, within walking distance of Borge Park, swimming pool, Northside Elementary School and the Northeast Montana Health Service - Wolf Point Campus.
The complex will be targeted to families with incomes between 40 and 60 percent of the area median income. A family of four with a household income between $23,240 and $38,860 would qualify for these apartments. Rent will range from $354 to $767 monthly.
The apartments will include energy efficient air conditioning, heating and appliances and single-car garages. The complex will include common area with barbecue, gazebo, computer learning center and library.