July 5 Montana News Briefs

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Orphaned grizzly cubs find new home at Canadian zoo

MISSOULA (AP) — Montana wildlife officials have found a new home for three grizzly bear cubs that were orphaned in June when their mother was killed by a vehicle. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced plans on Tuesday to send the cubs to Zoo Sauvage de Saint-Felicien in Quebec. The Missoulian reports that the cubs have been at a Helena wildlife rehabilitation center since being captured in early June. Authorities have been searching for a new home for the cubs since, hoping to avoid euthanizing them. The center only holds animals that cannot be released into the wild for four weeks but the cubs are too young to survive alone. Grizzlies around humans quickly equate them with food. They will remain the state of Montana’s property, on permanent loan to the Canadian zoo.

Judge overturns conviction of man accused of killing son

MISSOULA (AP) — A Montana judge has overturned the conviction of a man sentenced to 40 years in prison for his 3-month-old son’s 2008 death. Prosecutors said the boy, Gabriel, must have died due to Shaken Baby Syndrome. The Montana Innocence Project took up Robert “Dave” Wilkes’ case in 2012 and found no signs of abuse and medical experts who determined other possible causes of death. The Innocence Project also found that Wilkes’ trial attorney never mentioned that the medical examiner had listed Gabriel’s cause of death as undetermined. District Judge James Haynes said in his order Thursday that Wilkes’ trial attorney had been ineffective. Prosecutors can now appeal the order, re-try Wilkes or dismiss the case. Wilkes said in a statement that he’s been waiting, hoping and praying for this moment for many years.

Las Vegas investor arrested near Yellowstone

BILLINGS (AP) — A Las Vegas investor who owes $2.2 billion to a Nevada company was arrested in Montana near Yellowstone National Park on a bench warrant from a federal bankruptcy court. The Billings Gazette reports 47-year-old Raymond Ngan was arrested in Gardiner last week and appeared in federal court in Billings on Monday. According to court documents, the bankruptcy court in Las Vegas issued the contempt of court order last month after Ngan failed to appear for three hearings. A Nevada court ruled last year that Ngan owed more than $2.2 billion to First 100 LLC. Ngan told Judge Timothy Cavan at the hearing Monday that he had been unaware of the court orders. The judge ordered Ngan to be released, saying he did not have authority to hold him.

Black bear caught, killed after ripping up tent in Montana

BOZEMAN (AP) — Montana wildlife officials say a black bear has been killed after it was captured for ripping up a tent in a campground. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks supervisor Mark Deleray tells the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the decision to kill the bear was made to avoid future conflicts because it had become accustomed to people. FWP spokesman Greg Lemon confirmed the bear was euthanized Tuesday morning. Deleray says people driving past a campsite in Hyalite Canyon on Saturday saw the bear breaking into the tent. They yelled at the bear, but it showed no fear. FWP officials set a trap, and the bear was captured Sunday. Deleray says it is very likely the same bear that caused run-ins with people in the area last year.

Great Falls pair accused of kidnapping, tormenting man

GREAT FALLS (AP) — Great Falls authorities say a man and a woman kidnapped a man they claimed stole their property, then assaulted and tormented him. The Great Falls Tribune reports Jared Neal Mell and Courtney Cain-Howell were charged Monday with aggravated kidnapping and assault with a weapon. Court documents say Mell and Cain-Howell forced the victim to put on women’s underwear, then beat and dumped trash on him. The pair are also accused of burning and urinating on him, and injecting Cain-Howell’s blood into him after telling him she has HIV and cancer. The victim escaped when the couple forced him to wear a harness made of straps and walk across a bridge. It is not clear whether Mell and Cain-Howell have attorneys. Documents say Mell told officers he was under the influence of methamphetamine.

Couple accused of handcuffing adopted son in tub

BUTTE (AP) — A Butte couple is accused of handcuffing their adopted 12-year-old son naked to a milk crate in a bathtub and taping his mouth shut as punishment for taking food. The Montana Standard reports the 47-year-old man and 45-yearold woman were arrested Monday. They have been charged with criminal endangerment and assault on a minor. The newspaper did not identify them to protect the child’s identity. Child and Family Services officials have placed the boy in a group home after authorities were called to Walmart on Friday. Officials said the boy told workers at the store that he had been left there by his parents. Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester says the couple admitted to restraining the boy and said it was punishment for taking food they had forbidden him to eat.