News and Press Releases

Richard Charles Morsette Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on October 19, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, ,RICHARD CHARLES MORSETTE, a 65-year-old resident of Box Elder, appeared for sentencing. MORSETTE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 12 months
  • Special Assessment: $20

MORSETTE was sentenced after having been found guilty during a 1-day trial of two counts of simple assault.

At trial, the government presented evidence of the following:

Early on the morning of December 31, 2008, the victim and another male individual went to MORSETTE and his wife's home, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. The victim and the other male individual are married to two of MORSETTE'S wife's daughters. They had gone to the home to borrow jumper cables.

When they arrived, MORSETTE invited them in for a drink. They each took a drink from MORSETTE'S flask. While they were sitting around the table, sharing whiskey from the flask, the victim asked MORSETTE if his wife could come to his house to babysit his boys on New Year's Day. MORSETTE said that the boys could come to his house and the victim said that he did not trust his boys to come to MORSETTE'S, but would feel more comfortable having them taken care of at his house. MORSETTE got upset and walked to the back of the house.

When MORSETTE came back, he had a long cane-like object in his hand. MORSETTE hit the victim on the head with the object. The victim blocked another blow with his arm. The other male individual tried to intervene, and MORSETTE hit him on the head. MORSETTE'S wife came out of the back of the house, and the victim told her to call the police, which she did.

Law enforcement responded to the house and found both the victim and the other individual bleeding from their heads. MORSETTE had blood on his hands and shirt. All three of the men showed signs of intoxication. The officers arrested MORSETTE. The victim and the other individual went to hospital by ambulance and were treated for lacerations to the scalp.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MORSETTE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MORSETTE 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 a cooperative effort between the Rocky Boy's Tribal Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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