The Missoula County Attorney’s Office filed 17 new felony complaints this week and one person was charged with deliberate homicide. County Attorney Kirsten Pabst explains.

“We charged Staryal Dedrick Johnston with deliberate homicide,” Pabst said. “In that case, a child called 911 to report that her father was choking her mom out. Officers responded and the victim did not survive. She was allegedly strangled.”

Pabst said her office also charged two felony DUI cases. In one of those cases, it was a DUI eighth offense.

“There was an assault on a minor case,” Pabst said. “In that case, a child was allegedly walking her dog looking for her cat near the defendant’s vehicle. The defendant allegedly approached her and followed her home. She put her dog inside and then he allegedly assaulted the child. Her uncle intervened. The defendant left and was later arrested.”

According to Pabst, they also charged an attempted deliberate homicide that occurred early Wednesday morning. In that case, the allegation is that the defendant stood across from the Bodega Bar downtown and shot several rounds toward a crowd that was standing there, striking one male.

It was a violent week in Missoula, but Pabst said there was some good news as well.

“The board of county commissioners, after a several month-long process, approved the county’s final budget,” Pabst said. “I had requested funding to permanently fund our Calibrate Program, which is our prosecution led Pretrial Diversion Program. This is the first of its kind in Montana and it also just won a national award. Our coordinator, Ray Reiser, does an amazing job working with people and I am asking that his position, which was previously grant funded, be permanently funded because it has been so successful.”

Pabst went on to explain why this program is so necessary.

“This cookie cutter approach to criminal justice that we have seen for decades and decades is no longer serving us,” Pabst said. “It is time that we start looking a little closer at people as individuals, looking at what needs we can meet, and help them get on the right track. Some people respond very well to light intervention. It also frees up some resources to focus on the more dangerous offenders that actually do need to be incarcerated.”

Pabst said 29 people are currently enrolled in the program, which is significantly higher than what they initially anticipated.

You can listen to Pabst's entire report below.

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