News and Press Releases

Norman Juniper Bell Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on October 26, 2009, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, NORMAN JUNIPER BELL, a 25-year-old resident of Hays/Lodgepole, appeared for sentencing. BELL was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 32 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

BELL was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah J. French, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

At approximately 5:00 a.m. on March 13, 2009, BELL rolled his truck after failing to negotiate a curve while driving south on Fort Belknap Road 345, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Fort Belknap Reservation. His passenger was thrown from the truck and suffered numerous injuries, the most serious of which were C-spine fractures with associated spinal cord injuries, rendering her quadriplegic.

BELL and the victim had both began drinking the previous evening and friends would have testified that they both appeared very intoxicated. The investigating officer would have testified that the crash occurred as a result of the driver's carelessness, excessive speed, and possible driver inattentiveness. The officer also noted in his report that he suspected alcohol and drugs to be contributing factors. BELL'S blood alcohol concentration two hours after the accident was .14.

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

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Highway Patrol, the Fort Belknap Tribal Law Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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