Curtis Keith Tichenor Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that on May 2, 2013, in Missoula, after a federal district court trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, CURTIS KEITH TICHENOR, a 52-year-old resident of Helena, was found guilty of robbery, possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sentencing is set for August 7, 2013. He is currently detained.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
On the morning of July 14, 2012, TICHENOR robbed the Silver Dollar Bar in Missoula. He entered the bar wearing a blue coat and a mask. He pointed a handgun at the bartender and demanded all of the money from the till. The bartender complied with TICHENOR's demand and gave him approximately $4,775.
TICHENOR left the bar and got into his blue Camaro, which was parked in an alley to the Southwest of the Silver Dollar. His girlfriend was a passenger in the car and TICHENOR told her he had just committed a robbery. He threw the gun, mask, and money into her lap. TICHENOR left Missoula by way of the Orange Street on-ramp and drove west toward Spokane on Interstate 90. Several miles outside of Missoula, he pulled over and hid the coat and mask under some bushes alongside the road.
After he hid the coat and mask, TICHENOR and his girlfriend traveled to Spokane, where they stayed for a few days. TICHENOR used money from the robbery to buy methamphetamine and heroin, which both he and his girlfriend used while they stayed at a hotel in Spokane. After spending a few days in Spokane, TICHENOR and his girlfriend returned to Helena, where both of them lived at that time.
When he got back to Helena, TICHENOR hid the remaining robbery proceeds at his brother's residence. After TICHENOR got arrested in Helena on July 23, 2012, he asked his brother to retrieve the money, give some to his girlfriend, and put some on his books at the Helena jail.
On July 23, 2012, TICHENOR and his girlfriend were arrested outside a hotel in Helena. TICHENOR was in possession of a firearm, which witnesses identified as the same gun used during the robbery of the Silver Dollar Bar nine days earlier.
In late October 2012, information on TICHENOR was provided information to law enforcement officers about the robbery in Missoula. Based on that information, the officers were able to find the coat and mask that TICHENOR had hidden after the robbery along I-90 west of Missoula. The bartender from the Silver Dollar Bar identified the coat and mask as the items worn by the perpetrator of the robbery. The bartender also identified the gun seized from TICHENOR following his arrest in Helena on July 23, 2012, as the gun used during the robbery. The firearm was a entury Arms, model P-64, 9 mm handgun.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case for the United States.
TICHENOR faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 5 years supervised release on the robbery count; a mandatory minimum of 7 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 5 years supervision consecutive to other sentences on other counts for the possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence count; and 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release on the felon in possession of a firearm count.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Missoula Police Department, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.