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Uhrich sentenced to 80 years for deliberate homicide

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POLSON — A Polson man convicted of murder was sentenced in Polson’s District Court on Feb. 14 to 80 years in the Montana State Prison with none of that time suspended. Tyler Uhrich, 20, pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide for the execution-style death of Rozlyn Paige Bluemel, 22, as part of a plea agreement reached on Oct. 22, 2022. 

The plea agreement dismisses one count of felony criminal endangerment. Uhrich will be eligible for parole in 20 years. Although the prison term was in accordance with the plea agreement, some family members of Bluemel spoke against Uhrich being released before he served his entire 80-year term. Prosecutor Brendan McQuillan, with the Lake County Attorney’s office explained to presiding Judge John Larson of Missoula that the sentence is within the parameters of similar sentences for similar crimes committed in the 20th Judicial District.

According to court records, shortly before 10 p.m. on May 10, 2022, Lake County 911 took a report that a person, identified by the initials J.D., had reported being lost in the Hell Roaring Canyon area of the Mission Mountains East of Polson. J.D. had also reported that there was a domestic violence situation with shots fired.

When law enforcement officers arrived, they were unable to locate the parties, but J.D. did provide law enforcement with more details about who was involved. She indicated that she had seen Uhrich standing over the mother of his child, Rozlyn Paige Bluemel, 22. J.D. stated that when she approached the two, Uhrich turned his attention toward her and Bluemel ran off into the woods. She said Uhrich chased after her. J.D. said she heard a shot and Uhrich returned. When J.D. last saw Uhrich he appeared to be walking toward where he had left his vehicle.

Law enforcement did locate Uhrich’s vehicle, which was still running with the headlights on and the child inside. The window had been left open and the child appeared to be cold and was crying. This is the reason McQuillan brought the criminal endangerment charge.

A search for Uhrich and Bluemel continued overnight and into the next day. It was late afternoon May 11 when law enforcement officers located Bluemel’s body. She was lying face down on the ground in a heavily wooded area. She had been shot once in the back of the head with the bullet exiting the front temple area. Bluemel’s cellphone was discovered nearby.

Uhrich surrendered to law enforcement at his parents’ home in the Pablo area. That was the evening of May 13, 2022. He has been in the Lake County jail ever since. Judge Larson gave Uhrich credit for already serving 277 days in the Lake County jail.

Judge Larson limited both the state and defense to three witnesses to testify at sentencing. The witnesses included parents of both Uhrich and Bluemel, Bluemel’s sister and Psychologist Dr. Vincent River. Dr. River diagnosed Uhrich with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. River has prescribed medications to Uhrich since his incarceration, and said they seem to be helping. Dr. River added that Uhrich is emotionally immature but shows potential for growth.

“Every day for the past nine months, I’ve had nothing but time to reflect on what I have done, and it has been nothing short of torture living with myself. Words can’t even begin to describe the guilt that I feel. I failed as a son, brother, and a father. I’ve not only failed my family, but I have wronged another. To you I owe my deepest apologies. I don’t expect you to ever forgive me, and I don’t blame you if you choose not to. Why would you? I took from you a friend, a sister, and a daughter. Something that can never be replaced. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the pain I have caused you. I’m sorry for the grief I have put you through. I’m sorry for the irreparable damage I have done. The hurt you have experienced, nobody should have to know,” Uhrich read as part of a statement before Judge Larson pronounced the sentence.

Before pronouncing the sentence, Judge Larson stated, “This was an execution.” He also called the act “intolerable and inexcusable.”

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