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Lake County District Court news for April 1, 2010

Judge C.B. McNeil dealt with the following cases on Wednesday, March 24, 2010:

James Ross, 23, of Marysville, Wash., pleaded guilty to felony theft and misdemeanor criminal mischief. He was found guilty of both charges and sentenced to the Department of Corrections for eight years with all of that time suspended for theft. For criminal mischief, he was sentenced to the Lake County Jail for six months with all of that time suspended.

According to court records, the charges stem from an incident on Dec. 15, 2009 at about 2:30 a.m. when a Ronan Police Officer observed a Suburban being driven erratically near Pablo. When the officer turned on his lights, the vehicle did not pull over. When he turned on his siren, the vehicle accelerated.

The officer then followed the vehicle southbound through Ronan and at Highway 212, the vehicle attempted to turn towards Charlo, but lost control and slid into the ditch and became high centered. The driver, later identified as Ross, ran from the vehicle but was arrested after a foot pursuit.

The vehicle registration identified the owner as woman who told police that the vehicle had been stolen from the parking lot of student housing at SKC in Pablo. The woman also said that there were footprints in the parking lot leading from a Dodge Dakota to the space from which her vehicle had been taken. She gave police the license plate number of the Dodge. There was a parking citation issued to the Dodge by campus police at 2:15 a.m.

Shortly thereafter, the Dodge was reported as stolen by the owner. The owner stated that he had last seen his pickup about midnight from his home. His wife went outside about 6:30 a.m. and noticed that the Dodge was missing, her car had been broken into and that there was a key to the Dodge in her car that had been taken.

In an interview with Ross by the officer, Ross claimed that he was standing in the parking lot at SKC when his friend pulled up in the Dodge. He claimed that his friend gave him permission to use the Suburban and he denied being in the Dodge. The cost to repair the broken window in the Ford was $1,441.19 and the damage to the Suburban was more than $1,500.

Ricky Scott Riebe, 49, of Pablo, pleaded guilty to felony tampering with witnesses and informants and misdemeanor rivacy in communications. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for April 28 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a May 28, 2009 incident when a Lake County Detective received a call from a women that stated Reibe was harassing her. She said he had made threatening phone calls to her about dropping assault charges against another family member.

Steven Lee Rodriguez, 39, of Pablo, had his sentence of felony DUI, fourth or subsequent offense revoked and was committed to the MSP for three years.

Rodriguez had is sentence revoked because he violated his parole by consuming alcohol while driving and was arrested in Missoula County for a ninth DUI offense in January of 2009. He also admitted to consuming alcohol later on in the month to a Missoula County Sheriff’s Deputy, but refused a BAC test as requested.


Judge Deborah K. Christopher dealt with the following cases on Thursday, March 25, 2010:

Ghlee Daniel Blickenstaff, 22, of Polson, pleaded not guilty to felony assault with a weapon and misdemeanors partner or family member assault and aggravated cruelty to animals.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, May 6 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Feb. 10 incident when a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy and another Deputy were called to a home about a domestic disturbance. In an interview with a woman, she stated to the deputy that Blickenstaff became angry and broke a picture. Taking a piece of the broken glass, he cut her arm and then repeatedly cut himself. He also caused injury to her arm. He then threatened to kill their dog while strangling it.

The deputy then interviewed Blickenstaff and he admitted to cutting himself, pushing the woman and cutting her with the glass.

Douglas Charles Branson, 53, of St. Ignatius, pleaded not guilty to felony forgery.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, May 6 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charge stems from an incident in December of 2009 when a Police Detective received information about a forged check. An employee of a bank discovered that Branson sold a number of cattle to the Missoula Livestock Exchange which two banks had liens against the cattle.

On Jan. 9, Missoula Livestock Exchange issued a check in the amount of $20,489.24 payable to Branson and the two banks. He took the check to a bank that refused to deposit the check because it was not endorsed by anyone from the bank. 

On Jan. 28, he then took the check back to the bank and this time, they agreed to deposit it because it appeared to be endorsed by a vice president of the bank.

On Oct. 20, the vice president signed an affidavit of forgery, stating that he did not endorse, nor authorized endorsement of the check. 

In an interview with Branson, he admitted to a detective that he was the only person who signed the check.

Dustin Jade Morgan, 27, of Pocatelo, ID, pleaded guilty to felonies criminal possession with intent to distribute and tampering with evidence. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Thursday, May 6 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Morgan will be sentenced to the DOC for 15 years with all suspended but 10 years for criminal possession with intent to distribute. For tampering with evidence, he will be sentenced to the DOC for 15 years with all suspended but 10 years. Sentencing is to run concurrently. He was also fined $6,270.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Jan. 19 incident at 1:30 p.m. when a Northwest Drug Taskforce Agent was contacted by a Parole officer about two males selling methamphetamine in the Lake County area. A confidential informant told the agent that he had a large amount of meth, he had a handgun, along with cash and marijuana and that the males where going to be in Lake County for 4-5 days to sell or trade the meth for pistols or shotguns that could be sawed of.

In a phone conversation with the informant, Morgan, stated that they were in Boulder, Mont. but they would come to Lake County to sell some meth to the informant. 

On Jan. 20, the agent was stationed in Arlee with a tribal police captain. The informant was to meet the two males in about 30 minutes. They observed the males in a green Cadillac. They followed in three cars behind it.  Two other officers were stationed in Ravalli and waited and then as the Cadillac was northbound on U.S. Highway 93, they fell in behind it as one officer fell back. 

All three law enforcement vehicles activated their emergency lights. The Cadillac then accelerated to high speeds towards Ravalli Hill. It proceeded northbound and took a right turn into St. Ignatius. At times, the Cadillac’s speed was more than 100 mph. It continued on Old Highway 93, before again reentering Highway 93, south towards Ravalli and turned around in Arlee and then headed north. Near mile marker 21, a deputy observed the passenger throwing things out of the vehicle window, which were later recovered.

The chase went west on Highway 200, then north on Highway 212 where officers were waiting with spike strips. The chase ended in Charlo, near Olsen road and Highway 212, where the two men exited the car and began running east and were stopped by law enforcement.

In the vehicle, the agent observed white material that appeared to be crystal methamphetamine on the front seat, floorboards, window seals and right side door panel, a glass pipe, and a leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana on the front passenger seat. A scale was also recovered in Ravalli.

After a warrant was issued, a search of the vehicle recovered a black computer bag and a red cooler, a large quantity of unused plastic bags hidden in socks, a glass pipe with meth residue, a black lock-box containing another black box with scattered pieces of meth shards inside, two computers, cell phones and a number of 9MM shells. 

Susan Dale Humphreys, 50, of Polson, had her sentence of felony DUI, fourth or subsequent offense revoked and was sentenced to the DOC for five years.

Humphreys violated her parole by consuming alcohol.

According to court records, the DUI charge stems from an incident on June 12, 2007 when an off duty police officer observed a male pulling flowers out of planters on main street. The officer approached the male and told him to wait for an on-duty officer to arrive. 

Shortly thereafter, the officers saw Humphreys driving down main street in the male’s truck. He yelled at her to stop, then took away the keys.

A driving history showed that Humphreys license was no valid and that she had at least three prior DUI convictions. The officers observed that she had trouble keeping her balance.

She was taken to jail for further processing and her sobriety testing results indicated that she was under the influence.

Eneas Kenmille, 68, of Elmo, had his sentence of felony DUI, fourth or subsequent offense revoked and was sentenced to the DOC for five years with three years suspended.

According to court records the DUI charge stems from a Sept. 1, 2007 incident when a Polson Police Officer was called to a vehicle crash in U.S. Highway 93, just south of Polson. Responding units at the scene reported that there was no vehicle that fit the description at the location of the crash, but that it was northbound on Highway 93.

The vehicle was found near the intersection of U.S. Highway 93 and 35, and was observed swerving into other lanes, crossing the fog and center lines numerous times. The officer initiated a traffic stop and the driver was identified as Kenmille. He denied being involved in any crash. The officer observed that Kenmille’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, his speech was slow and slurred, and there was an odor of intoxicants in his breath when he spoke to the office.


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