Christina Pilkington Small Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 6, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, CHRISTINA PILKINGTON SMALL, a 64-year-old resident of Busby, appeared for sentencing. SMALL was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 18 months
Special Assessment: $ 100
Supervised Release: 2 years
SMALL was sentenced after a federal district court trial in which she was found guilty of being a felon-in-possession of firearms. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker prosecuted the case for the United States.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
On May 12, 2010, agents with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Drug Enforcement Administration went to the Small residence on Highway 314, south of Busby. The purpose of the meeting was to serve Lemuel Small with a Grand Jury subpoena. The agents were met at the front door by Lemuel Small and were invited into the residence to discuss the subpoena. Lemuel Small advised that the only other person inside the residence was his wife, CHRISTINA SMALL.
Agents spoke to Lemuel Small in the kitchen area of the residence. While speaking with Lemuel Small, an agent observed several boxes of ammunition on top of the refrigerator. Lemuel Small eventually became very agitated and ordered agents to leave his property.
A subsequent criminal history check of both Lemuel and CHRISTINA SMALL showed that both had been previously convicted of a federal felony offense on July 2, 2003, and were thereby prohibited from possessing firearms.
Based upon his observations of the ammunition and the SMALLS' felony convictions, the agent applied for a federal search warrant. On May 21, 2010, a search warrant was issued for the SMALL residence.
On May 25, 2010, agents executed the search warrant at the SMALL residence. Upon arrival, agents found both Lemuel and CHRISTINA SMALL inside. Lemuel Small told agents that they were the only persons residing at the home. During the search, agents found a handgun in the master bedroom dresser. They also found three rifles in the master bedroom closet and numerous boxes of various caliber ammunition on top of a dresser located in the master bedroom closet in plain view. Also in the top drawer of that same dresser they found a leather handgun holster and other miscellaneous ammunition.
Also recovered during the search was one box of .300 Winchester rounds in plain view on a shelf in the pantry/closet across from the bathroom and one .300 Winchester round and two .40 Smith & Wesson rounds in the laundry room drawer. Two .410 gauge shotgun shells on top of the refrigerator.
A trace on the firearms found during the search revealed that the Marlin 94, .22 Winchester magnum rifle was purchased by Lemuel Small from Lammers Trading Post in Hardin on March 17, 1999.
Lemuel Small was also found guilty at trial and has been sentenced.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SMALL will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SMALL 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 Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.