Death penalty sought in Montana teacher's killing

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed murder charges and say they intend to seek the death penalty against two men accused in the kidnapping and killing of Montana teacher Sherry Arnold.

Forty-eight-year-old Lester Van Waters Jr. and 22-year-old Michael Keith Spell are accused of grabbing Arnold off a street in Sidney, Mont., while she was on a morning run Jan. 7.

An affidavit filed by prosecutors Friday includes an alleged jailhouse confession by Spell that he choked Arnold and then held her face underwater to make sure she was dead.

Prosecutors says Spell told another inmate that he and Waters were high on drugs at the time and suggested the kidnapping came about because "Waters wanted to have sex."

In prior documents, Spell had alleged that Waters choked the victim.


Infamous Montana 'mountain man' denied parole

DEER LODGE, Mont. (AP) — One state Board of Pardons and Parole member says he believes there's "little chance" that Montana's notorious "mountain man" will ever be suitable for parole.

The panel on Friday rejected parole for Don Nichols, who abducted a world-class athlete in 1984 to keep as a wife for his son, who shot her during a rescue attempt and left her to die. Nichols gunned down a would-be rescuer and the two then eluded police for five months.

During Friday's hearing, the 81-year-old Nichols told the board it doesn't have the courage to stand up to the media.

The hearing included emotional testimony from kidnapping victim Kari Swenson, who said she was upset she had to see Nichols, saying, "Now I'm going to have nightmares all over again."

Federal authorities are searching for Nichols' son Dan, accused earlier this month with new drug and gun crimes.


Crow leader signs water compact with US, Mont.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The leaders of the Crow Indians, the state of Montana and the U.S. Department of Interior have signed a water compact that resolves decades of legal disputes over water rights on the tribe's arid reservation.

Crow chairman Cedric Black Eagle said Friday's agreement assures his people will have clean water for generations to come.

The federal government will spend $461 million on irrigation improvements, industrial and municipal water system upgrades and other projects.

In exchange, the tribe waives any legal claims against the government for being denied adequate water resources in the past.

The Crow also gain rights to up to 300,000 acre-feet of water annually from Bighorn Lake, a government-operated reservoir along the Wyoming border, and 500,000 acre-feet annually from the Bighorn River.


Man sentenced for assault in irrigation dispute

(Information in the following story is from: Ravalli Republic, http://www.ravallirepublic.com)

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — A southwestern Montana rancher who hit another man on the head with a shovel handle in an irrigation dispute has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

But the judge is willing to give 58-year-old Ivan Lee Roy Jr. a week off during the middle of his sentence if his wife needs help at their farm.

The Ravalli Republic reports Roy, of Stevensville, was sentenced Thursday for assault with a weapon for a May 2010 confrontation with a neighbor.

Ravalli County Attorney William Fulbright recommended that no time be suspended because Roy has three previous misdemeanor assault convictions.

However, District Judge James Haynes scheduled a hearing on May 10 to see how Roy's wife was faring taking care of their farm.


Sick Canadian caribou treated, returned to BC

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A radio-collared woodland caribou that wandered into northwestern Montana from British Columbia has been returned to Canada after some medical treatment.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists received a report Thursday that the radio collar from a caribou was emitting a "mortality signal" from the mountains south of Eureka. The female caribou was one of 19 from northern British Columbia that were released last month near Cranbrook, about 40 miles north of the U.S. border.

FWP spokesman John Fraley says biologists who traveled to the area by snowmobile found the caribou alive, but unable to stand.

A veterinarian in Eureka treated the caribou with a drug to counter the effects of tick paralysis.

The animal was returned to British Columbia. If it fully recovers, it will be returned to the wild.


Dog stolen outside Billings grocery store

(Information in the following story is from: KULR-TV, http://www.kulr8.com)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 78-year-old Billings woman is asking for help in locating her Scotty-Schnauzer cross that was taken from outside an Albertsons store in the Billings Heights.

Barbara Holm tells KULR-TV that she walks with her dog to the store every day. She left 6-year-old dog, named Dandy, tied to her walker outside the store Thursday, but when she returned, Dandy was gone.

Store surveillance video shows Holm walking with Dandy toward the store and later a man walking away from the store holding a small, black dog. He had two children with him.

Missy Jones says her mother, who suffers from dementia, is devastated. She says her mom talks about her dog, to her dog and takes her dog everywhere.

Jones says they just want Dandy returned, no questions asked.


Rams draft DB Johnson in third round

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams chose a defensive back with their third-round pick, taking Trumaine Johnson of Montana.

NFL.com said the 6-foot-2, 204-pound Johnson was arguably one of the best prospects to emerge from the Big Sky Conference in several years and he was rated the best draft prospect at the small college level and most underrated defensive back by the NFL draft report. Johnson started 42 of 47 games at Montana and had 15 career interceptions.

Johnson also played free safety in college. He expects to begin his pro career at cornerback.

The Rams drafted wide receiver Brian Quick of Appalachian State with the first pick of Day 2, then picked defensive back Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama and running back Isaiah Pead of Cincinnati later in the second.