Browning Man Sentenced To Prison For Strangulation
(GREAT FALLS) A Browning man has been sentenced to prison following a guilty verdict in a September 2014 trial. Jordan James Lamott was sentenced to 32 months in prison followed by 3 years supervised release for strangling his girlfriend. This is the first case in the District of Montana that a defendant has been convicted at trial for strangulation in federal court since the inception of the statute. It is also one of the first such cases in the entire country.
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 that importantly allow federal and tribal law enforcement agencies to hold more perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their crimes. Many of these critical provisions were drawn from the U.S. Department of Justice’s July 2011 proposal for new Federal legislation to combat violence against native women.
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.
These steps have been taken, at least in part, because 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 was indicted on July of 2014 by a 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 he strangled his girlfriend three times. The final time, Lamott’s girlfriend 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. When arriving at the hospital a few hours later, Lamott’s girlfriend explained that she had been strangled. Medical professionals testified that the bruising around the neck of Lamott’s girlfriend was consistent with strangulation.
Lamott was interviewed by federal agents. He claimed that he remembered everything on the night of the assault. When confronted with evidence that his girlfriend had strangulation marks on her neck, Lamott ultimately admitted that it was “possible” that he strangled his girlfriend.
U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter said the trial in this case represents the office’s dedication to working with reservations to ensure that Native American women and families are protected from domestic violence. “The strangulation statute and VAWA offers the U.S. Attorney’s Office a critical weapon to ensuring that domestic violence is dealt with swiftly and with harsh consequences. 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. It is this type of violence that tears apart families, damages children, and can have lethal consequences. The ability to proceed to trial on strangulation cases has proven effective, and we are proud to be one of the first districts to ensure this statute is vigorously enforced.”
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.