Robert John and Rachael Marie Hanlon Plead Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 12, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, ROBERT JOHN HANLON, age 40, and RACHAEL MARIE HANLON, age 24, residents of Roundup, pled guilty to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises. Sentencing has been set for January 17, 2013. They are currently released on special conditions.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On September 2, 2011, the HANLONS operated a marijuana grow with 262 plants on their property in Musselshell County - some of the plants were inside the house, most of the plants were outside in various locations hidden in wooded areas. The HANLONS called law enforcement to their property claiming that they had shot an intruder who was bleeding on their bed inside the house. Both HANLONS admitted to possessing firearms recovered by law enforcement. They stated that RACHAEL did the shooting and ROBERT, a convicted felon, fixed the guns when they jammed and reloaded them for RACHAEL.
A Musselshell County Sheriff's deputy was first on the scene. He responded to a shooting call at the HANLON residence - initial call was 3 people in the house with guns. A second call was there was shooting at the residence and a subject was shot, lying in the bed bleeding. The deputy noted that both HANLONS appeared to be under the influence of some sort of narcotic due to their actions. No shooting victim was located. All shots fired appeared to come from inside the residence. The spent rounds were discharged through a window and outside the residence. The deputy observed several marijuana plants in the basement while clearing/checking the house while checking the immediate area surrounding the house. Other deputies located multiple marijuana grows in the wooded area around the residence. The HANLONS turned over 4 firearms to the deputies.
ROBERT advised the deputy that RACHAEL did all of the shooting and had difficulty with the firearms. When one would jam, ROBERT would take the firearm, clear it, load or reload the firearm, and give it back to RACHAEL.
RACHAEL told the deputy that once the subject was inside their bedroom room, RACHAEL fired one round from the 20 gauge shotgun and threw it down. RACHAEL and ROBERT then retreated into the master bathroom attached to the master bedroom. While in the bathroom, she continued to shoot at the subject on the bed. She used two different handguns shooting at the bed and out the window.
Law enforcement found the 262 marijuana plants in the house as well as in the wooded areas around the house. Dried marijuana was also found in the house and wooded areas.
During an interview with the law enforcement, ROBERT HANLON stated that the people were trying to break into their house, kill them, and take their (marijuana) grow.
The window and screen were still intact on the window that the HANLONS claimed someone came inside through. He noted that the window was approximately 8 feet from the ground on the main level of the house.
They each face possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Musselshell County Sheriff's Office, the Valley County Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.