Nov. 30 Montana News Briefs

Friday, November 30, 2018

Pipeline spills crude oil on private property near Belt

GREAT FALLS (AP) — An oil pipeline spilled 3,400 barrels of crude oil on about 4 acres (1.6 hectares) of private property southeast of Great Falls, near Belt. ABC Fox Montana reports the spill from the Phillips 66 pipeline happened on Nov. 14. Cleanup has included vacuuming up spilled oil and removing contaminated soil. State environmental regulators say the oil did not reach surface or groundwater. Phillips 66 says there was no impact to people or wildlife. The Department of Environmental Quality says Phillips 66 is complying with the state’s cleanup requirements and the pipeline has been repaired. DEQ officials say when the cleanup is complete the agency will determine if any fines are warranted.

Popular Yellowstone wolf falls to Montana hunter

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — A Montana hunter has legally killed a wolf that was popular with photographers and wolf watchers in Yellowstone National Park. Abby Nelson, of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, says everything was legitimate about the way the wolf known as 926F was taken last Saturday near Cooke City, Montana, outside the park. But she tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that it may a little bit harder for people to accept because the pack the wolf belonged to had showed signs of habituation. The wolf had been the alpha female of the Lamar Canyon Pack until ceding the role to her daughter recently. Montana, Idaho and Wyoming have established wolf hunting seasons to help control their numbers. No wolf hunting is allowed inside Yellowstone.

Man arrested for woman’s death on Montana reservation

BILLINGS (AP) — A man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana has been arrested in North Dakota. The Billings Gazette reports 35-year-old Randy Lee Littlebird was booked into the Burleigh County Detention Center in Bismarck on Wednesday. He has been charged in federal court in Billings with second-degree murder. Bureau of Indian Affairs police went to a home in Birney on Feb. 4 and found the woman dead with a bloody nose and a rope on the floor nearby. Investigators say Littlebird told them he went to bed after arguing with the woman and awoke to find her unresponsive on the floor with the rope around her neck. The woman died of strangulation and blunt-force trauma. Online jail records don’t indicate if Littlebird has an attorney.

Police identify officer involved in deadly shooting

MISSOULA (AP) — Authorities have identified the Missoula police officer involved in the deadly shooting last week. Missoula police say officer Joseph Burger was placed on paid administrative leave as is standard department policy following the shooting of 49-year-old Janessa Cooper. Police say officers responded to reports of shots fired inside a Missoula home on Nov. 18. Police say the officers encountered Cooper who was armed, leading to police shooting Cooper. No officers were injured. Burger has been with the Missoula department for nearly three years. The state Division of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting. The Missoula Police Department is conducting an internal investigation.

Recounts sought in Montana House district races

HELENA (AP) — Recounts have been requested in two Montana legislative races from the Nov. 6 election. The Great Falls Tribune reports recount petitions were filed Wednesday with the secretary of state’s office by two Democratic candidates challenging results in the House District 22 race in Great Falls and House District 51 race in Billings. Dana Corson, elections director for Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, said recount petitions were received from Laura Dever for the House District 22 race and from Darryl Wilson in the House District 51 race. Dever ran against GOP incumbent Lola Sheldon-Galloway, who, as of Wednesday, led with 1,882 votes to 1,868 for Dever. Wilson ran against incumbent Republican Frank Fleming, who was leading 1,838 to 1,821 as of Wednesday.

Man convicted of rubbing hot sauce into kids’ eyes

GREAT FALLS (AP) — A Montana man has been convicted of assaults on minors for beating his girlfriend’s sons with a belt and rubbing hot sauce in their eyes. The children testified against Robert Mathew Holguin Jr. of Great Falls on Tuesday. Jurors found him guilty Wednesday. Defense attorney Victor Bunitsky argued the boys’ mother, Mandy Marie McElwain, gave Holguin permission to discipline the children and witnessed it. Child welfare workers placed the boys — then 5 and 8 — in foster care in 2016. McElwain pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in November 2017 and was given a two-year deferred sentence. She testified she did not agree with the hot sauce discipline but was afraid to try to intervene. Holguin was taken into custody with sentencing set for Jan. 7.

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