Archives for April 2018

Great Falls Man Now Faces Murder Charge

The Billings Gazette reports that a Great Falls man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man he allegedly shot in early April died as a result of his injuries. The Great Falls Tribune confirms that 42 -year old William Patrick Rose the third was arrested at his house Friday afternoon. Rose remained in custody Sunday after Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki said his bail was set at a half million dollars. Rose has reportedly claimed self-defense in the April 8th shooting of Steven Jacobsen. He was initially charged with assault with a weapon. Those charges were subsequently changed to attempted deliberate homicide after investigators learned that Rose left several phone messages for Jacobson’s girlfriend, threatening to kill the 57-year-old man, which established intent. With Jacobsen’s death last Tuesday, Rose now faces a charge of deliberate homicide.

Crash Fatality Saturday, Rescuer Dies in River Friday

A man is dead after his vehicle collided with a semi-truck Saturday, according to Montana Highway Patrol. Q2 reports the as yet unidentified man was driving a Dodge Caravan and attempted to pass another vehicle westbound along U.S. Highway 212. Both he and the oncoming semi veered to the southside of the road, striking head-on. Both vehicles caught fire and became engulfed in flames.The driver of the semi was uninjured.

The search continues for a Wolf Point man, assumed to have drowned after he jumped into the Missouri River on Friday to save someone who fell in. 40-year-old Jason Azure lept into the water to help another, and was swept downstream. He didn’t resurface. The other person was able to get out of the fast flowing river unharmed. Azure’s family is reportedly upset by the slow response of emergency personnel.

Trump Blames Tester for VA Failure

CNN reports that after White House physician Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, withdrew his nomination, the President targeted Montana Sen. Jon Tester as the cause of his failed nomination. Trump went on Fox News, slamming the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee for leading the charge against Rear Admiral Jackson, suggesting to Trump loyalists in Montana that Tester’s campaign for reelection should become the focus of their collective ire. The president said there should be a [quote] “big price to pay in Montana… I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state.” [end quote] A document released by Democrats on Wednesday alleged that Jackson was “abusive” to his colleagues, loosely handled prescription pain medications and once wrecked a government vehicle while drunk.

GOP Debate, Sheriff’s Office Seeking Help

The Greater Montana Foundation sponsored the Republican U.S.Senate primary debate Thursday night. The four candidates– Russell Fagg, Troy Downing, Matt Rosendale and Al Olszewski– answered questions and explained how they will serve if elected. The GOP primary winner will face incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in the general election this fall. MTN’s chief political analyst, Mike Dennison and News and Public Affairs producer Beth Saboe of MontanaPBS asked the questions. GMF Vice Chairman Ron Davis served as the event moderator. The debate among Democratic candidates for Montana’s lone U.S. House seat is scheduled for May 3rd. The winner of that primary will face first term incumbent GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte.

The Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help surrounding the death of a woman whose body was found in the Yellowstone River. Call 256-2929 with any information.

Sessions in Billings Friday

Q2 reports that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be in Billings to talk about the drug crisis in America. Sessions is scheduled to deliver remarks at the Rimrock Foundation tomorrow afternoon at 1:15pm. The Department of Justice made the announcement yesterday. Sessions will deliver similar remarks on Friday morning in Fargo, North Dakota. Last week Sessions said the federal government will continue to provide state and local law enforcement agencies with tools they need to reduce drug abuse. Sessions, a long-time vocal opponent of marijuana legalization, rescinded an Obama administration policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing charges in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal. Session’s memo to U.S. attorneys pointed to federal laws that [quote] “reflect Congress’s determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.” [end quote]

KTVQ, Gazette File to Intervene on BPD Names

As anticipated, KTVQ and The Billings Gazette have filed to intervene in a legal action by three police officers seeking to keep their names out of the news after being disciplined for their sexual encounters with a former BPD civilian employee on city property. The media organizations filed a motion on Wednesday to be heard in the case currently under consideration by District Court Judge Michael Moses. The officers initiated the case on Monday before 3pm, the same day the city was set to release their identities and related investigatory documents. The planned release was in response to records requests from several media organizations about sexual encounters that the Billings Police Department confirmed last Wednesday, two of which took place in the basement of City Hall. Billings Police released the name of the civilian employee involved in the encounters.

Flynn Coming to Billings for Downing

Embattled former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who served President Donald Trump in that position for only 24 days, is coming to Billings May 6th to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Troy Downing. The retired Army general will be at an airplane hangar on Overlook Drive from 4 to 6pm for a public event. An RSVP is required. The Billings stop is one of several scheduled in Montana. Downing is one of four Republicans seeking the nomination for a chance to face incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester in the general election. Flynn is a key figure in the ongoing investigation into Trump associate’s ties to Russia. The retired general has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI– a felony offense– and said he’s cooperating with investigators. Downing called Flynn a “patriot” and touted their shared military background.

Dems Seek to Bump Greens from the Ballot

MTN News reports that witnesses for the Montana Democratic Party presented evidence Tuesday, asking a judge to disqualify certain signatures for the Green Party on the 2018 state ballot. Green Party members say they believe the signatures are legitimate. Six Green Party candidates are currently on the ballot – three of whom are running for the U.S. House and Senate. The suit also asked Judge Kathy Seeley to remove the party from the ballot, if she agrees that the signatures in question are not valid. The Montana Democratic Party and three of its supporters filed suit earlier this month, asking Seeley to invalidate at least 180 nomination signatures. If the judge agrees, the Green Party will fall short of the required minimum number of signatures in at least 34 state House districts. The hearing on the case began Tuesday afternoon.

Missing Girl, Grocery Store Stabbing

The Gazette reports 12-year-old Olivia Seminole went missing from her Billings home on Monday, according to police. Seminole, is 5-feet, 1-inch tall and weighs about 120 pounds. She is Native American with black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white sweater, black and red coat, brown sandals and carrying a red Victoria’s Secret bag. Anyone with information should call police at 406-657-8200.

A Billings woman who was stabbed at a downtown grocery store Monday morning was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The 74-year-old male suspect was arrested at the scene. BPD spokesman Sgt. Harley Cagle described the man as a local transient. The encounter, which reportedly occurred at 6:16 a.m., appeared to be random, according to Cagle, and the police report did not indicate any motive for the attack.

Judge Blocks the Release of BPD Names

A judge granted a temporary restraining order on Monday, barring the city of Billings from releasing the names of three BPD officers disciplined for having sex with a civilian employee on city property. The city was prepared to release the names and details of the case, but Yellowstone County District Judge Michael Moses issued the restraining order at the request of lawyers representing the three patrolmen, according to Last Best News. A hearing was set for May 3rd on whether the injunction should be permanent, since it includes the names of the officers along with a police department clerk. Deputy City Attorney Thomas Pardy said last week that the information was public and would be released– but it would have had to be redacted. The Gazette and KTVQ are reportedly contemplating arguing for the release of public information.