Vernon Young and Austin Denny Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on April 9, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, VERNON MARSHALL YOUNG, age 23, and AUSTIN JOSEPH DENNY, age 22, residents of Box Elder, appeared for sentencing.
DENNY was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 54 months
Special Assessment: $110
Supervised Release: 3 years
YOUNG was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 51 months
Special Assessment: $110
Supervised Release: 3 years
They were sentenced after a federal district court trial in which they were found guilty of simple assault and assault with a dangerous weapon within the exterior boundaries of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
In the early morning of June 19, 2010, the victim was awoken while sleeping in his room by sounds in the house. At the time, the victim was living with his uncle near Box Elder, which is within the exterior boundaries of the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.
The victim was startled as his bedroom light was turned on and he saw YOUNG standing over him. Then, two other individuals, who had hooded sweatshirts on and bandanas over their mouths, attacked the victim and were stabbing him with two sharp objects. The victim was able to identify one of aggressors who was stabbing him as Thompson St. Pierre, but was unsure of the other person at the time. During the stabbing, the victim remembered YOUNG standing there watching, but was unsure whether he participated in the attack because things happened so quickly and the individuals were masked.
After a period of time, St. Pierre left the victim's room, but two other individuals entered and began to stab and beat him. One of these individuals hit the victim in the head with a glass bottle which broke on impact. The individual then proceeded to stab the victim with the broken bottle. The victim had locked the doors to the house earlier that night, but the front door was kicked in by the perpetrators.
The victim's cousin, who also lives at the uncle's home, was also there the night of the incident. The victim's cousin heard the commotion and the victim yelling for his help. He came out of his room and saw a hooded male in a Minnesota Vikings sweatshirt, the male had a broken bottle in his hand and blood on the sweatshirt. The victim's cousin identified St. Pierre and YOUNG as they left the victim's room. When he entered the victim's room, he saw blood everywhere, and saw multiple stab wounds in the victim's chest area and thought the victim would die from the wounds.
The victim's cousin called Rocky Boy's Tribal Police Dispatch at 4:17 a.m. and officers responded. Officers observed three males running from the victim's residence and flee in a green and tan Chevy truck. An officer was able to identify the three males fleeing the house as YOUNG, DENNY, and St. Pierre. Officers pursued the Chevy truck and soon saw the truck stop outside a home. The officers saw five males run from the truck upon arriving. An officer chased down two of the males in a nearby field - apprehending St. Pierre and another individual. Another officer found the three other males in a nearby home - DENNY, YOUNG, and another individual. Officers recovered two knives from the truck, found blood on the passenger door, and a hammer outside the truck on the ground. Officers confiscated the arrested males' clothing, a knife sheath, the hammer found outside the truck, and broken glass bottles found in the victim's room, which were used to stab the victim.
The victim was transported in an ambulance to the hospital in Havre. The admitting and attending physician would have testified that he found multiple stab wounds on the victim's upper chest and lacerations on his arms, chest, and head. One laceration on his arm/hand had caused minor sensory nerve damage. The victim received sutures on the lacerations on his head, chest, and arms. The injuries resulted in extreme physical pain, and the nerve damage involved the impairment of the function of a bodily member. The doctor would have further testified that he had treated the victim earlier in the evening of June 18, 2010, for wounds sustained in a separate assault from an alleged bar fight.
When questioned, YOUNG admitted that he entered the victim's house with St. Pierre and DENNY, but denied involvement in the attack on the victim.
When questioned, DENNY also admitted entering the victim's house but denied participating in the attack.
One witness would have testified that he drove five males to the victim's home that night. This witness would also have testified that St. Pierre kicked in the victim's front door and then all the individuals entered the victim's home.
Another witness would have testified that he and four friends were drinking earlier that night and St. Pierre began to get agitated, saying that the victim had assaulted his cousin. This witness would have testified that the individuals devised a plan to break into the victim's home and beat him up. This witness would also have testified that he did not want to be involved but the other boys forced him to go. Upon arriving at the victim's home, this witness stated that St. Pierre approached the home with a bottle in one hand and a hammer in the other. St. Pierre kicked in the door, and the witness watched St. Pierre, YOUNG and DENNY enter the victim's home. This witness further stated that DENNY was wearing a purple Minnesota Vikings hooded sweatshirt and that DENNY exited the home with a broken bottle in his hand. He also stated that YOUNG was wearing gloves and carrying a bottle also.
A forensic examiner found the victim's blood was found on YOUNG's shirt, St. Pierre's sweatshirt, and on DENNY's knife sheath that was on his belt. The victim's blood was also found on the hammer.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael T. Wolfe and Kris A. McLean prosecuted the case for the United States.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that they will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, they do 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 Rocky Boy's Tribal Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.