News and Press Releases

Donald Joseph Schwindt Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula, on January 30, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, DONALD JOSEPH SCHWINDT, a resident of Kalispell, appeared for sentencing. SCHWINDT was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 105 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

SCHWINDT was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-in-possession of a firearm.

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

On October 25, 2007, in Kalispell, SCHWINDT and Brian Daniel Rendon, both convicted felons and fugitives from justice from Oregon, and persistent drug users, were found to be in possession of three rifles. Officers from the Flathead County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Highway Patrol had responded to a domestic call where shots were fired. Shots continued to be fired as law enforcement approached the area.

One witness would have testified that she called 911 and told dispatch that both Rendon and SCHWINDT were tearing up her trailer house and that one or both were wanted for murder in Oregon. She also stated that she knew Rendon was wanted in Oregon for parole violations. She further advised that both were armed and may shoot it out with law enforcement. She also stated that Rendon kept a .22 rifle in their trailer house and that SCHWINDT kept his guns in the main house on the property and that SCHWINDT had just purchased a rifle with (armor piercing) ammunition.

She stated that she and a friend had left the trailer house to call the police and they heard gunshots coming from the trailer house area while talking to the law enforcement.

Flathead County Sheriff's deputies also heard gunshots coming from the trailer house area. They observed a .22 rifle and multiple .22 and .223 casings in the trailer house as well as holes in the window of the trailer house.

Upon his arrest, Rendon was interviewed and stated SCHWINDT had been playing with a Mini-14 and shot holes in the window of the trailer house and that SCHWINDT had also fired the .223 in anger when the law enforcement vehicles were present. Rendon further stated that they both went outside the trailer house with their firearms and that SCHWINDT took the Ruger .22 rifle from him and placed it on the ground. Rendon also stated that SCHWINDT took the Mini-14 .223 into the brush to the north of the residence and did not have the .223 when he returned.

A Montana probation and parole officer took urine analysis tests from Rendon and SCHWINDT. Both tested positive for marijuana.

Rendon pled guilty to federal charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SCHWINDT will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SCHWINDT 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 Paulette A. Stewart prosecuted the case for the United States.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, the Montana Highway Patrol and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This conviction is yet another important outcome from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a national priority of the United States Department of Justice. PSN is designed as a partnership between federal and local law enforcement to reduce violent crime and gun-related crime through the vigorous enforcement of the criminal provisions of the federal firearms laws. In Montana, the effort under PSN is called "Catch and No Release."



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