Man sentenced for slashing throat of senior living resident
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A 73-year-old Butte man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing a fellow resident at a senior living facility by slashing the man’s throat with a butcher knife.
The Montana Standard reports John Edward Grubbs Sr. was sentenced Monday. He pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide in April.
Grubbs was charged with killing 72-year-old Jerry Diltz in March 2014 during a drunken argument over money.
An employee at Continental Gardens witnessed the fight and called police.
Court upholds redistricting in Montana, 12 other states
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana is one of the 13 states with independent redistricting commissions that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld.
The commissions are used to limit political influence in shaping congressional districts every 10 years. The high court’s decision on Monday knocked down a challenge that would have placed the job of drawing congressional districts into lawmakers’ hands in those states.
Members of Montana’s Districting and Apportionment Commission say whichever way the Supreme Court had ruled, it would not have immediately changed anything.
That’s because Montana has only one congressional district that comprises the entire state. The Montana commission’s job is focused on redrawing state legislative districts.
Commissioner Joe Lamson says the Supreme Court’s case was specifically limited to federal races and not legislative races.
Fire near Glacier National Park up to 80 acres
(Information in the following story is from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com)
COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A human-caused fire that began in northwestern Montana over the weekend has spread to 80 acres and has started eight spot fires in Glacier National Park.
Flathead National Forest spokeswoman Ema Braunberger says firefighters were being taken by boat across the North Fork of the Flathead River to work on the spot fires after efforts Sunday to hike down to the area failed because it was too hot and crews couldn’t take enough water.
Ninety firefighters are working on the blaze, which started Saturday in a gravel pit north of Columbia Falls. It was 25 percent contained Monday morning.
Crews were preparing for the possibility of thunderstorms and gusty winds on Monday afternoon. Eight homeowners were warned they may have to evacuate.
The fire was human-caused, but Braunberger says officials don’t know how it started.
13 states sue over rule giving feds authority on state water
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — More than a dozen states are challenging a new rule that gives federal authorities jurisdiction over some state waters.
North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (STEHN’-juhm) says the “Waters of the U.S.” rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers is “unnecessary” and “unlawful.” He says it does nothing to increase water quality in North Dakota and other states.
Federal officials say the new rule aims to clarify which wetlands, streams and other waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act.
Stenehjem says a lawsuit seeking to have the rule thrown out was filed Monday in federal court in North Dakota.
The other states joining the lawsuit are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Judge rules Havre boy to be tried as adult for stabbings
HAVRE, Mont. (AP) — A state judge has ruled a 17-year-old Havre boy should be tried as an adult in a knife attack on three Montana State University-Northern students in an apartment in Havre.
KOJM-AM reports District Judge Dan Boucher made his decision after a transfer hearing Monday.
Justice Brown appeared via video from the Cascade County Juvenile Detention Center. His trial was set for Nov. 16, one day after he turns 18.
Brown has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted deliberate homicide and one count of aggravated burglary for the May 2 stabbings that critically injured Sam Mix and Taylor Woolman and injured Alicia Schneid, who was able to escape and call for help.
Mix was stabbed more than three dozen times, Woolman more than 20 times, including one that pierced her brain. Schneid was stabbed seven times.
2 bighorn rams killed after mixing with domestic sheep
GLASGOW, Mont. (AP) — State wildlife officials killed two young bighorn rams after they were spotted near domestic sheep south of Malta, more than 20 miles from two nearby bighorn herds.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Scott Thompson removed the sheep on June 24 over concerns that the domestic sheep could have been exposed to pneumonia that can decimate a bighorn herd.
In the Tendoy Mountains near Lima, the state plans to remove an entire herd, and later restock the area with healthy bighorns. Other recent bighorn sheep die offs resulted in the closure of hunting districts until the herds recover.
FWP says the meat was donated to local families and the horns will be used for educational purposes.
Man pleads no contest to burning daughter with lighter
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 44-year-old Billings man has pleaded no contest to charges that he held down his 6-year-old daughter and burned her with a lighter.
The Billings Gazette reports Blaine Startin entered his plea Friday before District Judge Gregory Todd. He also pleaded no contest to drug possession.
Startin was charged with assaulting a minor after the mother of the girl noticed markings on her neck and burns on her arms after the child, who has Down syndrome, spent time with Startin and his girlfriend.
Doctors told the mother the burns looked like they had been inflicted by a lighter and the marks on the girl’s neck were in the shape of a hand.
The plea agreement recommends Startin be sentenced to 10 years with the Department of Corrections. A sentencing date has not been set.
Items belonging to missing hunter found in Crazy Mountains
BIG TIMBER, Mont. (AP) — A man doing some fencing work in the Crazy Mountains found items belonging to a 38-year-old Bozeman man who went missing during an elk hunt in September 2014.
The Big Timber Pioneer reports Roger Beslanowitch of Powell, Wyoming, was working at a ranch on June 19 when he saw something orange in the brush. He found a bow, backpack, field gear and a hunting license with Aaron Hedges’ name on it.
Beslanowitch and his son-in-law called the Sweet Grass County sheriff’s office.
Search and Rescue Coordinator Alan Ronneberg says a search of the area turned up no more clues. Officials say no more searches are planned unless they get more leads.
In the fall of 2014, search teams found a pair of boots and other items believed to belong to Hedges near Sweet Grass Creek.
Bozeman man dies in kayaking accident
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — A man has died after a kayaking accident in the East Gallatin Recreation Area in Bozeman.
Bozeman Police Patrol Capt. Cory Klumb said Monday that 55-year-old Kevin R. Franklin of Bozeman died at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital Sunday night.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports the man was pulled out of the water at 5:45 p.m. Saturday after bystanders spotted his flipped kayak at the Bozeman Beach area. Emergency responders arrived within minutes.