Mar. 6 Regional News Briefs

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Montana man charged with raping girl he met on Facebook

BILLINGS (AP) — A 22-year-old Montana man has been charged with raping a middle school-aged girl he met through Facebook. The Billings Gazette reports that Jacob Daniel Eastman, of Billings, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of sexual intercourse without consent. Eastman is accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a middle school-aged girl he contacted through Facebook. Court papers say the girl told police she was motivated to come forward to prevent Eastman from “preying on other young girls.” Eastman has been in custody for roughly a year on separate rape charges. In that case, he’s also accused of raping a middle school-aged girl he met through Facebook. District Court Judge Jessica Fehr set bond at $25,000 and required a GPS monitor if Eastman is released.

Logging opponents offer highest bid in Montana timber sale

BOZEMAN (AP) — A group of logging opponents has offered the highest bid in the auction of a timber sale in southern Montana. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that if the bid is accepted it will be the first time a group blocked an entire logging project by purchasing a timber conservation license in Montana. Save Our Gallatin Front offered a total bid of roughly $400,000 for a 25-year deferral of the 443-acre (179-hectare) Limestone West Timber Sale southeast of Bozeman. John Grassy, of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, says the group’s bid topped RY Timber, which was the only other bidder in the sale. Grassy says the company offered the minimum bid of about $376,000. The results are not official until agency attorneys verify the bid.

Sentencing postponed for ex-YMCA day care employee

MISSOULA (AP) — Sentencing for a Montana woman who pleaded guilty to charges related to smoking methamphetamine in a YMCA Learning Center for children has been postponed so sides can review restitution in the case. The Missoulian reports Autumn Heinz pleaded guilty in January to using meth in the Missoula facility’s laundry room and employee bathroom, which effectively dispersed the meth residue throughout the building. Heinz’s sentencing was set for Monday, but a few items in the total restitution claim — about $474,000 — from the YMCA prompted Missoula District Court Judge Robert Deschamps to hold off on sentencing until parties could review the claim. Heinz’s defense asked for three weeks’ time to review the receipts turned in by YMCA, saying there was no “obvious correlation” between some of the line items and the receipts turned in by the YMCA.

Teen killed, others injured in McKenzie County identified

WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Highway Patrol has identified those involved in a fatal crash this week near Watford City. Fifteen-year-old Elizondo Joe died from injuries suffered when the SUV in which he was a passenger collided with a semi on Highway 23 near Watford City Monday. The SUV’s driver, 18-year-old Clinton Tsosie, and passengers 14-year-old Albertina Joe, 11-year-old Neveah Joe and 7-year-old Johnathan Joe were injured. The patrol says the SUV rear-ended the semi as it slowed to make a turn. The semi driver wasn’t hurt.

Pine Ridge man pleads guilty in reservation slaying

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — The second of three men accused in a fatal shooting on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 2017 has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Jamie Shoulders entered the plea in federal court Tuesday. Prosecutors say the 26-year-old Pine Ridge man went with two others to buy drugs from 41-year-old Christopher Janis in May 2017 and that Shoulders shot Janis who was in a minivan. Clarence Yellow Hawk is still facing a first-degree murder charge and other counts in the shooting death. A third man, Scott Benson, pleaded guilty last May to being an accessory in the case. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.