News and Press Releases

Wallace John Bear Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on January 8, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, WALLACE JOHN BEAR, a 26-year-old resident of Fort Belknap, appeared for sentencing. BEAR was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: life
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $1,500
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

BEAR was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to second degree murder.

In an Offer of Proof filed by the United States, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

During the early hours of February 21, 2008, a group of people, including BEAR, were drinking alcohol at a home located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.

At some point an altercation ensued between the victim and BEAR'S brother. Bystanders eventually stopped the altercation and the two men were separated from each other. From that point forward, the victim posed no threat to BEAR, his brother, or anyone else at the party.

BEAR'S brother showed his injuries to BEAR. BEAR looked at the victim, who was standing nearby. BEAR then pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the chest several times in a back-handed fashion. The injuries which ensued from the stabbing killed the victim.

BEAR and his friends and family members left the house and walked to a residence at another location. En route to that residence, a member of the group observed BEAR wrap the knife in a handkerchief and put it in his pants pocket. Later, BEAR walked behind the group while it continued the trek to the other residence. During this time BEAR may have disposed of the knife, which was not recovered by investigators.

The group went to another residence where they ultimately fell asleep. BEAR was apprehended at that residence and arrested.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah J. French prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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