MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — The man arrested in connection with a homicide in Miles City earlier this month is one of the suspects in a stabbing and a homicide early this week in Missoula.
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst says 37-year-old Scott Austin Price of Billings and 32-year-old Sarah Rae McKnight of Trout Creek are persons of interest in Monday’s attacks. They were arrested Tuesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as fugitives from justice.
Police in Miles City have said Price is a suspect in the Dec. 14 death of 78-year-old Ed Martin, whose body was found in his camper. A warrant was issued last Friday charging him with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault for an attack on Helen Martin on the same day. No charges have been filed in Martin’s death.
Pabst says she may have an announcement regarding charges in the Missoula cases as early as Thursday morning.
Deer Lodge man denies violating terms of probation
HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A registered violent offender who reportedly confessed to killing a Deer Lodge man and his mother in October has denied violating the terms of his probation for a 1998 crime.
David Wayne Nelson made an initial appearance in District Court in Hamilton Wednesday on a petition to revoke the suspended portion his sentence for kidnapping and accountability to robbery.
Public defender Ron Piper reserved the right to argue for bail to be set. Nelson, who is 53, remained jailed without bail.
County Attorney Bill Fulbright alleges Nelson violated his probation by killing Beverly Giannonatti and Gregory Giannonatti and by traveling to Missoula without the permission of his probation officer to sell 17 of Greg Giannonatti’s 100-ounce silver bars for more than $26,000. He has not been charged in the deaths.
A hearing date on the revocation petition has not been set.
Attorney for Blixseth says odds of Christmas release slim
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — An attorney for the founder of a Montana club for the ultra-rich says it’s not likely an appeals court will allow his client to be released from jail before Christmas.
Yellowstone Club developer Tim Blixseth was jailed in April for not disclosing to creditors how he spent $13.8 million he received for the 2011 sale of a resort in Mexico. Creditors are trying to recoup money they say Blixseth drained from the club before its 2008 bankruptcy.
Attorney Philip Stillman’s petition for Blixseth’s release noted it had been two months since U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon held a hearing to determine if Blixseth had made an adequate accounting.
The appeals court said Haddon could address the petition on or before Jan. 5. Stillman said Wednesday that was “a clue to Haddon to file an order” before the appeals court had to take further action.
Poll: Campaign finance rules match legislative intent
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A new poll shows Montana lawmakers support the campaign finance rules created to implement a law passed by the 2015 Montana Legislature.
The State Administrative and Veterans Committee polled all 150 state lawmakers earlier this month, asking if the rules implemented by Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl matched the intent of Senate Bill 289, called the Disclose Act.
The new rules require candidates to file reports electronically, call for more frequent reporting and require third-party groups to report spending if their communication mentions a candidate or uses an image of them within 90 days of an election.
The preliminary results of the poll found a majority of the lawmakers agreed with the rules that Motl created.
If lawmakers had disagreed, the poll results could have been used as evidence if someone wanted to sue to block the rules.
Massage therapist gets 40 years, with 35 suspended, for rape
DILLON, Mont. (AP) — A Dillon massage therapist convicted of raping a former client has been sentenced to 40 years with 35 suspended.
The Montana Standard reports that 63-year-old Randall Lee Lerman was convicted in July of sexual intercourse without consent of a then-20-year-old woman, a felony.
On Tuesday, District Judge Katherine Bidegaray ordered Lerman to complete the prison’s sexual offender treatment program before he becomes eligible for parole.
Three women testified before sentencing about their massage experiences with Lerman. All three said they were inappropriately touched during their sessions.
The victim said she was not worried and accepted whatever sentence the judge decided upon.
Montana Western names Nourse football coach, again
DILLON, Mont. (AP) — Montana Western athletic director Ryan Nourse is returning to his former job as the Bulldogs’ football coach and offensive coordinator.
Nourse coached Western during the 2011 and 2012 seasons, posting an overall mark of 6-15, before he took the post as athletic director. He recruited the seniors who led the 2015 team to a 7-3 record and a No. 16 ranking in the final NAIA poll.
Nourse will relinquish his duties as athletic director when a new person is hired. Chancellor Beth Weatherby says Western plans to begin its search for a new AD in July.
Nourse takes over for B.J. Robertson who left Western after three seasons to become an assistant at Montana State.
Nourse played wide receiver at Western and previously coached at NAIA power Morningside in Sioux City, Iowa. He was named the 2007 NAIA assistant coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association.