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Lake County District Court news for Mar. 4, 2010

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

Macy K. Jore, 28, of Ronan, had her sentence of felony issuing a bad check, revoked and was committed to the Department of Corrections for six years with three years suspended and was recommended for placement in Elkhorn Treatment Facility.

Jore had her sentence revoked because she admitted to violating her parole by consuming alcohol.

According to court records, Jore issued 61 checks in the approximate total amount of $5,110 during the months of November and December of 2007 on an account that had non-sufficient funds or was closed. 

Robert Patrick Chiefstick, 34, of Ronan, had his sentence revoked and was sentenced to the DOC for five years with no time suspended for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and was sentenced to the DOC for five years with all of that time suspended for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Sentencing is to run consecutively.

Chiefstick had his sentence revoked because he did not complete inpatient treatment, failed to contact his probation officer since September of 2009, attempted to conceal his drug use by altering a urine sample, and tested positive for drug use and for consuming alcohol.

According to court records, Chiefstick was a passenger in a car stopped by Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies on Jan. 2, 2009. The officers noticed a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from the car and noted that Chiefstick appeared very nervous. One of the officers asked Chiefstick to get out of the vehicle, which made Chiefstick even more agitated. The officer was concerned Chiefstick would run and attempted to place Chiefstick in handcuffs. Chiefstick did run, and the two deputies chased him down and placed him under arrest. 

During a search of Chiefstick, one of the officers found a plastic bag containing 17 Lortabs. Chiefstick admitted he did not have a prescription for the drug. A deputy transported Chiefstick to the Lake County Jail but noticed a strong smell of raw marijuana in the car. After turning Chiefstick over to detention staff, the officer checked under the seat cushion in the back of his patrol car and found a gallon-sized plastic bag containing three smaller bags of marijuana, a total of 66 grams. When the deputy asked Chiefstick about the marijuana, Chiefstick said, “… you found it.” 

Thomas Allen Ragen, 36, of Arlee, had his sentence of felony assault with a weapon and misdemeanor partner or family member assault revoked and was sentenced to the DOC for eight years with all of that time suspended. 

Ragen had his sentenced revoked because he violated his parole by being in possession of a combat-type blade, ammunition and a hatched, using illegal drugs and failing to provide proof of enrolling or completing a treatment program.

According to court records, the charges stem from an Oct. 7, 2006 incident when officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in a home in Lake County. At the scene, officers spoke with a woman who stated that Ragen became verbally abusive and at one point, obtained a pistol and pointed it at another woman in the home, forcing her to leave. She also stated that he had backhanded her in the mouth and punched her face.

James Lee Laststar, 53, of Pablo, had is sentence revoked for felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and was committed to the DOC for three years with recommendation that Laststar be considered for pre-release.

Laststar violated his parole by consuming alcohol.

According the court records, the charge stems from a Feb. 24, 2006 incident when a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper stopped a vehicle that was cited going 84 mph in a 65 mph zone on U.S. Highway 93.

Laststar was identified as the driver and was noted to have an odor of alcohol coming from his breath. He admitted to drinking and when standing outside of the vehicle, the trooper noticed that he was swaying back and forth as he was talking with the trooper. A breath test resulted in a BAC of .156% and a driving record history showed three prior DUI convictions. 

Michael Gilbert Turpin, 48, of Ronan, pleaded guilty to felony criminal endangerment and misdemeanor driving while license is suspended or revoked. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Wednesday, March 31 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Turpin will receive a deferred sentence of three years for criminal endangerment and will serve six months in jail with all suspended but two days for driving while license is suspended or revoked.

According to court records, Turpin was stopped by Montana Highway Patrol Troopers Aug. 21 on Highway 93 near Pablo after the troopers observed the car he was driving nearly hit the guardrail, driving slowly and crossing the fog line and center line several times. The troopers noted that Turpin was unsteady on his feet, had trouble walking and slurred his speech. Several beer cans were observed on the floorboard of the vehicle, too. The troopers reported that Turpin admitted he had been drinking.

A call to emergency dispatchers resulted in a records check that Turpin had five prior DUI convictions. Turpin refused to perform sobriety tests or a breath test and he was placed under arrest. He also refused to perform any sobriety tests at the Lake County Jail.

Everardo Guiterrez Bravo, 42, of St. Ignatius, pleaded guilty to felony criminal possession with intent to distribute. He was found guilty and sentencing is set for Wednesday, March 31 at 9 a.m.

According to the plea agreement, Bravo will be committed to the DOC for 10 years with eight years suspended and fined $1,410.

According to court records, the charge stems from an April 8, 2009 incident when a Northwest Drug Task Force Agent served a search warrant for Bravo’s residence. During the search, the officers found a bowl containing marijuana residue, a scale and plastic bags and three pipes inside the master bedroom.

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy had his dog sniff the exterior of the house and discovered that under the crawlspace was a cooler. Inside were two plastic shopping bags containing approximately a pound of marijuana.

Peter James Auld, 22, of Ronan, pleaded not guilty to felony sexual intercourse without consent.

An omnibus hearing is set for Wednesday, April 7 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charge stems from a Sept. 3 incident when a Polson Police Detective responded to St. Joseph’s Hospital to meet with a female who reported that she had been raped the previous night.

She told the detective that she had been drinking with some friends and when she wanted to go home, Auld offered to give her a ride. Auld drove to a secluded location outside of Polson. She had fallen asleep in the front passenger seat and she awoke to find Auld raping her. She kicked him away and back into the driver’s seat. Auld then came around to the passenger door and pulled her out of the car. He forced himself on her again and she felt her body go into convulsions. She returned home and told a family member and was then taken to the hospital. 

Auld admitted in an interview with the detective later that day to the allegations.

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

Emery John Smith, Jr., 36, of Pablo, pleaded guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - fourth or subsequent offense, he was found guilty and was committed to the DOC for placement in a correctional facility for 13 months. If Smith successfully completes the program, the remainder of the sentence will be served on probation. In addition, Smith will be sentenced the three more years at DOC or Montana State Prison with all of that time suspended. According to the plea agreement, he was also fined $1,260 and ordered to pay restitution of $3,700.

According to court records, the charge stems from a July 17, 2009 incident then a trooper was dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 93 in Lake County. A Tribal Officer then arrived and determined that Smith had run into the back of another vehicle and that he appeared to be intoxicated.

Smith admitted to drinking and his performance on several sobriety tests indicated that he was impaired. Tribal dispatch indicated that he had three prior DUI convictions and a breath test resulted in a .284% BAC.

Craig Baird Feistner, 60, of Polson, pleaded of felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs - fourth or subsequent offense, he was found guilty and was committed to the DOC for 13 months for placement in a correctional facility. If Feistner successfully completes the program, the remainder of the sentence will be suspended.

According to court records, the charge stems from a Nov. 30 incident when a woman called 911 on suspicion of a drunk driver.  She stated that the driver was all over the road and while speaking with dispatch, had hit the curb alongside the road and was drifting into the opposite lane of traffic. The vehicle was observed turning off of U.S. Hwy. 93 onto Bayshore Drive.

A Polson Police Officer located the vehicle, facing north in the southbound lane with its headlights and brake lights on.

The driver, identified as Feistner, was unconscious in the driver’s seat. The vehicle was running and in gear. After several knocks on the window, Feistner woke up. He fumbled with the vehicle controls, put the vehicle in park and opened the door. The officer could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage and observed a beer bottle in the passenger’s seat.

When speaking with Feistner, the officer noticed that his speech was slurred, and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. He also was unsteady on his feet when stepping out of the vehicle. He was then arrested and during booking at the jail, agreed to take a breath test, but refused to blow into the instrument. He refused to follow the pen with his eyes during the HGN and scored a total of six points on the walk and turn test, indicating that he was impaired. He was unable to perform the one leg stand test. Feistner’s driving history showed that he had three prior DUI convictions.

William Allen Rorvik, 28, of Ronan was sentenced to the DOC for five years and is recommended for placement at a treatment facility, preferably the WATCH program and was fined $1,000 for felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and misdemeanor driving while privilege to do so is suspended or revoked. 

According to court records, the charges stem from a Dec. 21, 2009, incident when a report was made from a man that lived on Corrigan Road about something going on just north of his home. 

A Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Ronan Police Officer went to investigate and the officer discovered a blue pickup on the east side of the roadway, stopped amidst a fence. Rorvik was behind the wheel of the wrecked truck and the keys were in the ignition.

Both the deputy and the officer could smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Rorvik. 

Court records indicated that Rorvik’s  license was revoked and he could not provide proof of insurance at the time of the incident.

A Montana Highway Patrol Trooper arrived and tried to wake Rorvik. He had to physically assist him out of the patrol vehicle and escort him to perform sobriety testing. Rorvik was so unsteady on his feet, that the trooper had to hold him up.

Rorvik told the trooper that he was headed home. His speech was slurred to the point where he was difficult to understand and he was unable to give him his correct address or phone number. A breath sample produced a BAC of .266%.

After booking at the jail, he stopped following the trooper’s finger during the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and scored seven out of eight possible clues of impairment. On the one-legged stand, he scored three out of four possible clues of impairment.

Keith Charles Harrison, 22, of Ronan, pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of felony burglary, two counts of felony theft, four counts of misdemeanor theft, and misdemeanor criminal mischief.

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

According to court records, the charges stem from a July 7, 2009 incident when a Ronan Police Officer responded to a burglary report. The officer met with a woman who stated that she and her family returned from boating to find things out of place and missing from her home. Specifically, two laptop computers, X-Box 360, 30 X-Box games and four controllers with an estimated value over $1,500. 

On July 24, a man contacted the Ronan Police department to report that his son, Harrison, may be in trouble. In an interview with the officer, Harrison admitted to entering into the home and taking the computers and X-Box. He then returned the stolen items.

On July 8, a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a burglary report and spoke with a woman who said someone had entered her home through her bedroom window and approximately 10 guns were missing, valued over $1,500.

On July 26, Harrison was arrested by the Ronan Police on another matter. One of the firearms stolen was found in Harrison’s possession when he was arrested. He admitted to the detective that he had taken several firearms.

On July 9, 2009, a Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a burglary report and spoke with a man who said someone had come into his home through the front window and had taken cash and a diamond necklace.

On July 13, a Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a burglary report and spoke with a man who said he had come home from work to find his home ransacked. A laptop computer had been destroyed, and things were thrown on the floor, a screen to a window was cut.

Harrison admitted to the detective in a July 29 interview to entering this home.

On Sept. 2, 2009, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a burglary report and spoke with a man who said he had come home to find a window screen removed and the window was open. He said his pistol was missing. He had written down the serial number, make and model on a piece of paper which was also missing. 

On Sept. 3, 2009, Harrison was arrested on another matter and the piece of paper was found in his pocket. Harrison admitted to steeling the gun.

On Sept. 2, 2009, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a burglary report and spoke with a man who said he was missing a pistol and a mug of change. In an interview, Harrison admitted he had broken into this home.

On Sept. 2, 2009, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a burglary report and spoke with a woman who said she had a window screen cut and an open window in her basement.  Nothing was missing, and Harrison admitted to breaking into this home.

On Sept. 2, 2009, Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a burglary report and spoke with a woman who said she had her home broken into but nothing was missing. 

On Sept. 3, 2009, Lake County dispatch received a call of a burglary in progress. Officers responded and found Harrison being restrained by two men. A woman told officers that she heard someone in the home and went downstairs to find an open window in her daughter’s room. She found Harrison hiding in another room, brought him up the stairs and called 911. He then ran outside and two ranch hands were called to help. They held him until officers arrived.

Harrison spoke with a detective and admitted to the burglaries. He drove with the detective and pointed out houses he had broken into, pointing out two other homes that had not been reported of, but when contacted, the ownerns stated that they had windows open and things were messed up inside, and one reported of loose change missing. 

Bradley Kirk Stevens, 38, of St. Ignatius, pleaded not guilty to felonies driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and operation of a noncommercial vehicle by person with alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, fourth or subsequent offense, misdemeanors obstructing a peace officer and unlawful possession of open alcoholic beverage container in motor vehicle on highway.

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

According to court records, the charges stem from the early morning hours of Jan. 30, when a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy was on patrol of U.S. Highway 93. He noticed a van weaving within its lane at approximately 70 mph in a 65 mph zone. Near mile marker 57, the van continued 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. The van drifted over the center line and the deputy activated his emergency lights.

The van turned on South Hills Drive and then again on Nursery Lane and continued driving.

The driver, identified as Stevens, exited the van and ran south, jumped a fence and headed towards a wooded area. The deputy caught up to Stevens and placed him under arrest. During field sobriety testing at the jail, Stevens lost his balance and put his foot down two times on the one legged-stand. He also performed poorly on two other tests and provided a breath sample which indicated a BAC of .114%. He admitted to drinking a beer while driving and a records check showed he had three prior convictions of DUI.

Bradley Kirk Stevens, 38, of St. Ignatius, had his sentence of felony criminal production of dangerous drugs revoked and sentencing is set for Thursday, March 25 at 9 a.m.

According to court records, the charges stem from a June 24, 2000 incident then officers of the Northwest Drug Task Force obtained information that Stevens had been producing methamphetamine at a residence in Lake County. After obtaining a search warrant, the officers entered the house and items consistent with the production of methamphetamine were found.

Benjamin Carey Jim Little Leaf, 21, of Polson, pleaded guilty to misdemeanors driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first offense, and unauthorized use of motor vehicles. He was found guilty and was sentenced to six months in jail with all suspended and fined $100 for the DUI. 

For the unauthorized use of motor vehicles, he was fined $1,000 with all suspended but $300 and sentenced to jail for six months with all suspended but 41 days.
 
The charge stems from a Dec. 11, 2009 incident when a call was made from a woman who stated that her 2002 Dodge Caravan was stolen from outside of her home in the Woodcock Home sites in Ronan. She had left her van running while she went inside. When she came back outside, the van was gone.
 
An eyewitness neighbor said it was taken by male in is twenties.
 
Just two hours later, a Polson police officer located the van in Polson.
 
Little Leaf was the driver and sole occupant. He was placed under arrest and during an interview, said he was being picked up by a male named Nicholas, but later admitted to stealing the vehicle himself.
 
Frances Joan Wood, 60, of Polson, pleaded guilty to two counts of felony theft. She was found guilty and sentencing is set for Thursday, April 15 at 9 a.m.
 
According to court records, the charges stem from an incident on Sept. 3, 2008 when a business owner contacted the Sheriff’s office to state that Wood had stolen money from the business. The business owner told the deputy that he had to let Wood go from her job because of financial difficulties. She had been hired as a bookkeeper, and issuing payroll checks was one of her responsibilities.
 
After being let go, the owner noticed several discrepancies. One being Wood’s pay per hour. She was told she would be paid $13 per hour, but she issued her first paycheck at $15 per hour. In June, she decided to pay herself $18 per hour and also wrote checks off the business account, cashed them and used them to pay her own bills.
 
Kalem Jay Branson, 28, of St. Ignatius, pleaded not guilty to felonies deceptive practices, common scheme, theft of identity, forgery, common scheme.
 
An omnibus hearing is set for Thursday, March 18 at 9 a.m.
 
According to court records, the charges stem in late November of 2009 when a Tribal Police Officer responded to a report of some checks being stolen by a woman who stated that her son, Branson, did not have permission to write checks. He used them to pay for goods at different businesses, estimated at less than $1,500.
 
Between June and November, a total of 30 checks had been written on two different accounts. In an interview with Branson, he admitted that he stole several blank checks from his parents.
 
Kalem Jay Branson, 28, of St. Ignatius, had his sentence revoked of felony criminal endangerment and sentencing is set for Thursday, March 18 at 9 a.m. Branson had his sentence revoked because he failed to report to his parole officer, did not obtain permission to move his residence, and used illegal drugs.
 
According to court records, the charges stem from a March 20, 2006 incident when a Sheriff’s Detective responded to St. Luke’s Hospital to interview an assault victim.
 
She told the detective that Branson and her had gotten into an argument and he had punched her while he was driving. She jumped out of the car, and he drove into the ditch and pinned her into a fence after hitting her with the car. 
 
John L. Hartsoe, 59, of St. Ignatius, was found guilty by a jury of felony aggravated assault, and misdemeanor violation of order of protection. He was sentenced to the MSP for 20 years for aggravated assault and for violation of order of protection, he was sentenced to six months in jail with all suspended but 60 days.
 
According to court records, the charges stem from a June 2, 2008 incident when a Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy was called to a home in St. Ignatius where a woman told the deputy that Hartsoe assaulted her and would not leave the home. The deputy noticed that she had a black eye and several other bruises and scratches. She said that her water pump had shut off, and when she went to turn it back on, she was pushed from behind and saw Hartsoe coming at her. He grabbed her arm and shocked her with an electrical wire. He punched her in the eye and threw her to the ground, strangling her. He threatened to kill her. He then took her back in the house, shutting off all lights and was looking for law enforcements to arrive. During this time, he told her that he planned to kill her and described how it would happen. She stated that she was in fear for her life.
 

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