May 15 Regional News Briefs

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Defense witnesses testify in Montana double homicide trial

MISSOULA (AP) — The prosecution has rested and the defense has begun presenting testimony in the case of a double homicide that was reported to have happened in March 2013 in western Montana. Caressa Hardy is charged in the suspected deaths of Thomas Korjack and Robert Orozco along with two counts of solicitation of murder for allegedly asking Missoula County jail inmates to kill Karen Hardy, the mother of his children and the person who reported he shot the victims and burned their bodies near Frenchtown. Attorneys for Caressa Hardy, also identified in court records as Glenn Dibley, argued the alleged victims fled the country to avoid paying taxes and child support. Theresa Gorka testified Tuesday that Korjack, her former husband, was imprisoned for failing to pay taxes and once had a passport in the name of his dead brother.

Missoula-area whooping cough cases top 100, many vaccinated

MISSOULA (AP) — Missoula City-County Health Department officials say the number of cases of whooping cough in the Missoula area has topped 100, including many people who have been vaccinated. Department Director Ellen Leahy says protection from the vaccine wanes over time. Vaccines against whooping cough, or pertussis, are given as a series between 2 months and 18 months of age and another around age 5. A booster is given to preteens. The Centers for Disease Control says women should get a booster during the third trimester of each pregnancy. Missoula County has confirmed 103 cases of whooping cough through Tuesday morning and was hiring more nurses to help with testing. Leahy tells KGVO-AM that 975 tests have been submitted and another 58 are pending at the state lab.

Man reaches plea agreement in meth overdose deaths

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A 26-year-old Montana man has pleaded no contest to two counts of negligent homicide for obtaining the methamphetamine that led to the overdose deaths of his pregnant wife and daughter, who was born prematurely via cesarean section. Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki says Devin Michael Olson of Great Falls entered his pleas on May 6, a week before he was to go to trial in the January 2018 deaths of 20-year-old Kayla Olson and their daughter, Charlotte. The Great Falls Tribune reports Olson is scheduled to be sentenced June 18 if the judge accepts the recommended eight-year prison sentence with four years suspended. Kayla Olson died shortly after giving birth on Jan. 13, 2018. Their daughter was flown to Seattle Children’s Hospital where she died five days later, according to Kayla Olson’s obituary.

Bozeman Gallatin High chooses raptors as mascot

BOZEMAN (AP) — The Bozeman school board has chosen dinosaur raptors as the mascot for Bozeman’s Gallatin High and black and royal blue as the school colors. The board voted 7-1 Monday in favor of raptors. The $78.7 million high school is under construction and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Superintendent Rob Watson says the name raptors would be unique among Class AA schools, has a strong connection to the Museum of the Rockies, would not create gender problems for team names and would easily lend itself to branding and creating a culture for the new school. Facilities director Todd Swinehart says builders will incorporate the colors in the school’s hallway lockers, locker rooms and athletic spaces.

Deferred prosecution for former sheriff’s captain

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A former Cascade County sheriff’s captain who was charged with misdemeanor embezzlement for taking a service firearm purchased with county funds has reached a sixmonth deferred prosecution agreement. The Great Falls Tribune reports Raymond Hitchcock is required to abide by all laws and cooperate with any further investigation in the case of former Undersheriff John Stevens, who is alleged to have taken several firearms, a holster and ammunition purchased by the county when he left office in January 2018. The charge against Hitchcock will be dismissed in six months if he meets all conditions. He has returned the weapon. Stevens was charged with felony theft in March and has pleaded not guilty.

Woman sentenced to 5 years for murder accessory

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A woman accused of leaving the body of a shooting victim in a rural Minnehaha County ditch has been sentenced to five years in prison. Kelsey Roubideaux was sentenced Tuesday for accessory to a felony for helping dispose of the body of Lakendrick Thornton last September. Roubideaux’s testimony was key in the trial of the man accused of killing Thornton. The 23-year-old woman pleaded guilty in March in exchange for her cooperation. The Argus Leader says charges of first-degree manslaughter and possession of a controlled substance were dropped. Henry Little Long was convicted in April of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Thornton.

Erosion closes scenic road in Theodore Roosevelt park

MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — Erosion has indefinitely closed about six miles of scenic roadway in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Water under the road has caused it to slump around the Cottonwood Campground to the Badlands Overlook in the park’s south unit. The Bismarck Tribune reports park officials say there’s no timetable to repair the road and no funding is available. Park spokeswoman Eileen Andes says maintaining park roads amid erosion of the Badlands’ soft rock is a constant issue.