Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dawson Ray Demonitiny Sentenced in U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on June 25, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, Dawson Ray Demontiney, a 25-year-old resident of Box Elder and an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribes, appeared for sentencing. Demontiney was sentenced to a term of:

■Prison: 41 months
■Special assessment: $100
■Supervised release: three years

Demontiney was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter.

In an offer of proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On December 24, 2010, around 1:53 a.m., two officers with the Rocky Boy’s Police Department were on patrol driving westbound on Upper Box Elder Road. As the officers drove in the 45mph zone, they saw a car driving eastbound going 70mph as confirmed by in-car radar. This car passed by the officers with no headlights on, using hazard lights only. The officers notified dispatch that a car was driving eastbound going approximately 70mph with just its hazard lights illuminated.

The officers turned around to follow the car, but could not see the car anymore and realized it must have shut its lights off. One of the officers radioed to dispatch to instruct the detention officers to go outside the police station to see if the car passed by, as it was headed that direction. Four officers went outside the police station and saw a four-door passenger car pass at an extremely high rate of speed with no headlights. The officers heard a large crash almost immediately after the car passed the police station. They saw the taillights of the car go up into the air before the car hit the ground. The portion of road where the car crashed is posted as a 25mph speed limit and a free-range animal area.

The officers arrived at the crash and found half of a horse lying in the road with its internal organs exposed and a blood trail running down the road. The same four-door passenger car they previously saw speeding down the road was now in a ditch. Upon closer examination of the car, the officers saw a male’s body spread out on the ground by the passenger side of the car with his foot still partially stuck under the front passenger seat. There was no one else in the car. The officers began to check the road and surrounding areas for the driver. They could not find anyone until a male came stumbling down from the fence line yelling at the officers for help. This man was identified as Demontiney. His face was swollen and covered in blood.

Demontiney was transported to the hospital for medical treatment. The front passenger, the victim, was pronounced dead at the scene. A postmortem examination of the victim revealed he died from blunt force injuries to the head. At the hospital, a doctor observed marked swelling along the left side of Demontiney’s face, which, once cleaned up, revealed three lacerations on his left cheek. There was also bruising to his left shoulder, but no seat belt impression on his chest. Demontiney’s BAC was a .058 and he tested positive for THC.

Montana Highway Patrol also arrived on scene of the crash and began an investigation. The troopers determined the front passenger side of the Oldsmobile struck the rear half of a horse that was in the middle of the road. The troopers observed the pavement to be in good condition with no visible defects. The traffic lanes contained visible fog lines, as well as driving lanes separated by a solid and broken yellow line. At the time of the crash, the lanes of travel were dry with the exception of a small amount of snow on the center line.

Upon closer examination, the troopers observed no brake or tire marks on the road prior to the beginning of the horse’s blood. Rolling tire marks straddling the center line of the road were only observed after the final resting point of the front half of the horse. The trooper concluded the primary contributing factors to the crash appeared to be the driver’s actions of speeding and driving at night without headlights. There were no tire marks of any kind leading up to the impact of the horse.

Demontiney was last seen before the crash leaving a house with the victim around 1:00 a.m. on December 24, 2010. Demontiney asked to borrow a friend’s car to get a pizza from a bar in Box Elder. Demontiney called to order a pizza and 10 minutes later, the victim walked into the bar, picked up the pizza, and left.

The FBI sent evidence to the FBI crime lab. This included a blood swab from the fence where Demontiney was located and the driver’s side air bag from the car. The lab concluded the DNA profile from the driver’s side air bag matched Demontiney’s DNA profile.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that Demontiney will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Demontiney does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for “good behavior.” However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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