Browning Man Is Convicted After Federal Strangulation Jury Trial
GREAT FALLS-The Montana United States Attorney's Office announces that the first federal felony strangulation jury conviction has occurred in Great Falls, Montana. A jury of Montana citizens convicted Jordan James Lamott on September 16, 2014, of strangling his girlfriend three times, after which she passed out. Under the new strangulation statute, Lamott faces up to ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. This is the first trial conviction in Montana under a new federal statute criminalizing strangulation on Indian Reservations of federally-recognized tribes. It is also one of the first such cases in the country.
This conviction represents a significant step forward in ensuring the safety and well-being of women and families on Montana's reservations," said Mike Cotter. "This violence can have lethal consequences, and we are proud to be among the first districts to ensure this statute is vigorously enforced." Victims of one episode of strangulation are six times more likely to be a victim of attempted homicide by the same partner. These same victims are seven times more likely to actually die at the hands of their loved ones. A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that 46% of Native American women have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
Lamott is one of several Montana defendants recently charged with felony strangulation under the new statute. Lamott was indicted in July 2014 by a Montana federal grand jury. At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon presented evidence that Lamott's girlfriend wore a skirt to impress him. Lamott became angry and strangled his girlfriend three times. The final time, she lost consciousness. In the morning, Lamott requested that his girlfriend have sex with him, and when she refused, he kicked her out of the house. At the hospital a few hours later, Lamott's girlfriend explained that she had been strangled. Medical professionals testified that the bruising around her neck was consistent with strangulation.
The United States Attorney's Office in Montana has joined forces with other law enforcement and social services agencies to conduct trainings on Montana's reservations regarding how to investigate these offenses and care for victims of these potentially-lethal felony offenses. On March 7, 2013, President Obama signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This law contains provisions that significantly improve the safety of Native women and allow federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to hold more perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes. The strangulation statute and VAWA offers the U.S. Attorney's Office a critical weapon to ensure that domestic violence is dealt with swiftly before it becomes lethal.
The tribal provisions in VAWA address three significant legal gaps by: (1) recognizing certain tribes' power to exercise concurrent criminal jurisdiction over domestic violence cases, regardless of whether the defendant is Indian or non-Indian; (2) clarifying that tribal courts have full civil jurisdiction to enforce protection orders involving any person, Indian or non-Indian; and (3) creating new federal statutes to address crimes of violence, such as strangulation, committed against a spouse or intimate partner and providing more robust federal sentences for certain acts of domestic violence in Indian country.
The investigation of Lamott was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Lamott's sentencing is December 18, 2014, at 2:30 p.m., at the Missouri River Courthouse in Great Falls, Montana.