News and Press Releases

Tylrell John Connor Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Monday, November 01, 2010

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on November 1, 2010, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, TYRELL JOHN CONNOR, age 24, appeared for sentencing. CONNOR was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 45 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $220,231
  • Supervised Release: 5 years

CONNOR was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to arson.

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

On September 9, 2007, CONNOR and a multitude of other juveniles and young adults were attending a party at a house near Wolf Point on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. The house belonged to a family that was in the process of moving from the Wolf Point area to Great Falls, but no members of that family were present during the party.

During the course of the party, people began vandalizing the house and removing property from the house and outbuildings. At the end of the night, CONNOR and another person set fire to the house and burned it down.

Many of the party-goers were interviewed during the investigation, as was CONNOR. Some of those witnesses were initially untruthful about the fire, including CONNOR. However, during subsequent interviews, several witnesses told law enforcement that they either saw CONNOR and one other person start fires in the house, heard CONNOR and that other person talk about "torching" the house, or both.

When CONNOR was interviewed a second time, on September 16, 2009, he said that he was responsible for burning down the house. Specifically, CONNOR admitted that he was at the party on September 9, 2007, and that he was extremely drunk. He also said that he started a fire on the second floor of the house, though he did not remember how. And he admitted putting a container of kerosene on the stove, and then inside the stove, because he and the other person, referenced above, wanted the upstairs to be on fire. He also threw a second container of kerosene on a carpeted floor.

A deputy fire marshal conducted an origin and cause investigation at the scene the day after the party. He concluded that the house was a total loss and noted that some areas were still smoking and releasing heat. But the deputy fire marshal was unable to determine the precise location of the fire or fires and unable to draw any conclusion about which fire may have destroyed the house.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that CONNOR will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, CONNOR 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 conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.



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