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Lake County District Court news for Mar. 11, 2010

Judge Deborah Kim Christopher dealt with the following cases on Thursday, March 4, 2010:

Tiffany Faye Edwards, 23, of Ronan, pleaded not guilty to felonies deceptive practices and theft of identity.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, April 1 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from an incident when a man called the Lake County Sheriff's office when he noticed unauthorized charges on his Cenex fuel credit card statement. He said his card had gone missing and he ordered a new one, not cancelling the old one. The man had heard that his son's girlfriend, Edwards, had been using his card to sell gasoline to others at a discounted price.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy interviewed Edwards at her home, and she admitted to using the card with her boyfriend without the owner's permission, and later admitted to buying fuel for others. The credit card statements reflected more than $3,000 in unauthorized fuel purchases.

Tiffany Faye Edwards, 23, of Ronan, pleaded not guilty to felony forgery, a common scheme.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, April 1 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charge stems from an incident of stolen checks reported by a woman to the Tribal Police Department in late November of 2009. A Flathead Tribal Police Officer met with the woman who told the officer that she had received several calls regarding her son paying for goods using checks from her checking account. He did not have permission to use the checks.

Between the months of June and November of 2009, a total of 30 checks had been written without her permission on two different accounts.

In late January, a Lake County Sheriff's Deputy interviewed the son, and he said his girlfriend, Edwards, wrote out the checks and he cashed them.

Mark Clayton Danfifer, 43, of Kalispell, pleaded not guilty to felonies partner or family member assault, aggravated burglary, tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and misdemeanor, criminal mischief.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, March 25 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Feb. 12 incident when Lake County Sheriff's Deputies responded to an assault call at a home near Woods Bay. Upon arrival, the deputies observed a woman that appeared to have blood covering her face, arms and shirt. She stated that she had been at a local bar with her boyfriend, Danfifer, and that they had gotten into an argument. When she tried to leave, she said Danfifer forced his way into her car and punched her while they were in the car.

When they arrived at the home, she ran inside and locked Danfifer out, but he forced himself in by kicking through a glass decorative oval in the middle of the front door. He proceeded to her bedroom and kicked in that door, but the woman was able to convince Danfifer to let her go to her car to get some personal items. She then called 911 and also grabbed a pair of garden shears for protection.

Danfifer took the shears from her, according to the interview, threw her to the kitchen floor and repeatedly kicked her in the face and body. When the deputies arrived, they found Danfifer hiding in a closet.

Kenneth Old Person, Jr., 47, of Arlee, pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony incest.

An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, April 1 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Dec. 22, 2009 incident when a female told a Tribal Police Officer that on Oct. 18, 2009, Old Person wanted to celebrate and go to Missoula and they had been drinking. They drove to a home in Arlee and she eventually went to sleep on the couch and awoke to Old Person touching her inappropriately, and she ran into another room.

She told the officer that she believed Old Person had sexually assaulted another female. This female was interviewed by the officer and said that Old Person had placed a pillow over her face and had raped her in August of 2008.

On Jan. 22, a child protective services worker took a 4-year-old to a resource center to undergo a forensic interview and medical examination. The 4-year-old told her mother that Old Person had inappropriately touched her.

 

Judge C.B. McNeil dealt with the following cases on Wednesday, March 3:

William Hopkins Maus, 23, of Missoula, pleaded not guilty to felony vehicular homicide while under the influence. Bond is posted at $20,000 and an omnibus hearing is set for Wednesday, May 5 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charge stems from a Feb. 6, 2009 incident when a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper responded to a four-vehicle fatality crash on U.S. Highway 93 near mile marker 41. The trooper determined that a Ford Explorer, a Honda Civic and a Dodge Caravan had been traveling southbound on the highway and a Kenworth truck tractor had been traveling northbound. 

The investigation indicates the Ford had slowed and signaled to turn left. Following the Ford was the Honda, driven by Maus, who failed to notice and struck the right rear of the Ford causing it to rotate counter-clockwise and into the northbound lane, directly in front of the northbound Kenworth.

The driver of the Kenworth did not have time to brake and struck the passenger side of the Ford with extreme force, causing it to push back into and across the southbound lane, rotating an unknown number of times. The driver was pronounced dead from injuries sustained in the collision.

A blood sample provided by Maus revealed THC.

Cory Lyle Mitchell, 22, of Polson, pleaded not guilty to felonies assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment.

Mitchell remains at liberty and an omnibus hearing is set for Wednesday, April 7 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Jan. 9 incident when dispatch received a report that several people were congregating near the granary in Charlo and that one person had fired a pistol three times. The reporting party was not sure if the pistol was aimed at anyone. A few minutes later, the group left in three vehicles.

A short time later, officers intercepted the three vehicles on U.S. Highway 212. Through interviews conducted, officers gathered that there was an argument about a girl and decided to meet at the granary to fight. A witness told officers that Mitchell grabbed a revolver and said, "If they try to mess with us ... I'll shoot them."

Once they arrived at the granary, Mitchell pulled out the gun and fired it into the air once and then again two more times. They decided that the argument was a misunderstanding and then the confrontation began to de-escalate and left.

Adrian McElderry, 28, of Pablo, pleaded guilty to felonies aggravated assault and criminal endangerment.

An omnibus hearing is set for Wednesday, April 14 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, on the morning of Jan. 13, a woman was involved in an assault with a weapon and criminal endangerment in which her boyfriend, McElderry, had run into her with his vehicle. Several hours after McElderry was arrested for this incident, the girlfriend had come into the Sheriff's Office and said McElderry had additionally abused her on Dec. 27, 2009.

She told officers she was working at a store and McElderry came to visit her. They went outside and began arguing. He came back and picked her up after her shift ended around 12 a.m. and after they arrived home, began arguing with her again. He used a towel and later a pillowcase to wrap around her neck and strangle her until at one point, she blacked out.

She had taken photos of her injuries with her cell phone on Dec. 30 and submitted them to the detective.

Cote Wheeler, 21, of Ronan, pleaded guilty to felony burglary. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Wednesday, April 14 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Wheeler will receive a deferred sentence of three years.

According to court records, the charges stem from a Dec. 2, 2008 incident when a Lake County Sheriff's Deputy was advised that the Ronan Police Chief recovered stolen property. The deputy met the chief at his home in Ronan and showed him a lock box that was brought to his home and had been previously forced open. It was found near the overpass in Pablo. There two letters addressed to a person who confirmed that the box had been stolen from his home. He said there was $800 in the box and another $500 had been taken from his home the same time. The theft had occurred several days prior, but he had not reported it to police. He also said he was missing a revolver.

On Jan. 16, 2009, a deputy interviewed Wheeler who admitted to burglarizing the home. He admitted to taking $700 from the box and $600 from another location inside the house, along with the revolver.

Cote Wheeler, 21, of Ronan, pleaded guilty to felony burglary. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Wednesday, April 14 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Wheeler will receive a deferred sentence for three years and will be fined $185 in court costs.

According to court records, on Nov. 13, 2008 a Lake County Sheriff's Deputy was responding to a burglar alarm at Wilson Family Foods in Arlee. A Tribal Officer was at the store and noted that the back door was open and an 18-pack of beer was in the alley behind the store.

Both the officer and deputy noticed that the break-in entrance was from the ceiling into the office where an addition was under construction. According to an interview by a deputy with Wheeler, Wheeler stated that a group of individuals broke in from the ceiling of the addition and took three cases of beer. After the alarm was set off, they panicked and exited through the back door. One case of beer was dropped, but two other cases were taken.

According to the plea agreement, Wheeler will receive a deferred sentence for three years, will be fined $185 in court costs, and will pay full restitution in an amount to be determined by the probation office.

According to court records, on Dec. 13, the owner of a home residence located on West Post Creek Road called Lake County Dispatch about a burglary. The owners said they left their home approximately 10 a.m. and returned 4:30 p.m. to find that someone had entered their house through the garage.

They were missing three guns, including a Remington 1100 shotgun, a camera, jewelry and cash. Tire tracks were found in the driveway, with fingerprints on an owner's manual from inside the home.

The tread from the tracks were similar to the ones on Wheeler's vehicle, who was identified as a suspect. During an interview with Wheeler on Jan. 16, he admitted to, along with Jonathan Morton, breaking into the residence.

The shotgun, having a serial number within the range of numbers supplied by Remington based on the date of the gun, was located in a Kalispell pawn shop. 

Cote Wheeler, 21, of Ronan, pleaded guilty to felony burglary. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for  April 14 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Wheeler will be committed to the Department of Corrections for 10 years with eight years suspended, fined $185 in court costs, and be recommended for boot camp.

According to court records, the charges stemmed from an incident occurring on Nov. 19, 2008 at Pigasis Bar in Arlee where Lake County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched for a burglary reported by the owners of the bar. The owners stated that sometime during the previous night, someone entered the bar through a window and took several bottles of liquor worth approximately $800, two knives and $500 in cash.

Later on that evening, a person called dispatch and reported seing a suspicious driver in a green Dodge pickup the evening of the burglary. On Nov. 22, an anonymous tip was called in that said Cote Wheeler was the person who burglarized the Pigasis, who was confirmed as the owner of a green 2002 Dodge pickup.

According to an interview by Sheriff's Deputy with Cote Wheeler on Jan. 16, he admitted to burglarizing the Pigasus Barwith a group of people. Wheeler stated that Colton Wheeler had previously worked at the Bar and knew where the cash was kept.

He said Jonathan Morton and Cote Wheeler entered the building while others kept watch and took the knives, 32 bottles of alcohol and cash, all were carried to the truck and they later went to a party in Missoula.

Dusty Seyler, 22, of Desmet, Idaho, pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Wednesday, April 7 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Seyler will receive a deferred sentence of five years, serve 108 days in jail, and after a psychosexual evaluation, was recommended as a Tier Level I sex offender.

Seyler is accused of knowingly having sexual intercourse with a 15-year-old girl in early August. According to court records, Seyler admitted having sex with the girl seven times over the past year, including the last time on Aug. 9. 

The incident was reported to the Tribal Law Enforcement after the girl ran away from home and the mother suspected the girl was staying with Seyler. After an initial interview with Seyler, the case was referred to the Lake County Sheriff's office, which followed up with another interview with Seyler in which he admitted the sexual relationship, according to an affidavit from the Lake County Attorney's Office.

 

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