News and Press Releases

Rusty Lane Frost Vernwald Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on June 24, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, RUSTY LANE FROST VERNWALD, a 19-year-old resident of Browning, appeared for sentencing. VERNWALD was sentenced to a term of:

  • Probation: 3 years, with 6 months home arrest
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $132.50

VERNWALD, an Indian person, was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to burglary.

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

On October 2, 2008, an employee of the Blackfeet Solid Waste Center was unlocking the gate to the Center when he saw an individual, later identified as VERNWALD, coming out of the Blackfeet Solid Waste Building on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. He called the police and Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Police responded. After speaking with the employee, officers were able to locate VERNWALD hiding in a field near the Solid Waste Building.

The officers arrested VERNWALD and found $3.25 in quarters in VERNWALD'S pockets and $915 in bills under some grass in the field where VERNWALD was hiding. The employee identified the quarters and the bills as missing from the Solid Waste Building.

While being transported to the tribal jail, VERNWALD admitted committing the burglary and indicated that he committed the burglary because he was mad at not being offered a job at the Solid Waste Center following an interview just a few days before the burglary.

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

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Browning.



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