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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Joseph Daniel Capehart Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 3, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, JOSEPH DANIEL CAPEHART, a 28-year-old resident of Miles City, pled guilty to distribution of methadone. Sentencing has been set for October 7, 2013. He is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On October 5, 2011, Miles City Police, Custer County Sheriff's deputies and agents with Montana Division of Criminal Investigations responded to a report of a deceased female at a residence in Miles City. The deceased individual was identified as C.H., a 28-year-old white female.

Law enforcement learned that C.H. had been found unresponsive at 9:00 a.m. on October 5, 2011, in her bedroom at her home. C.H. was pronounced dead and found to have died from a self-administered, intravenous injection of methadone. Next to C.H., in her bedroom, officers found a spoon with white residue and nearby on a night stand were three other spoons containing white residue as well as a hypodermic needle and syringe. Law enforcement collected numerous items of drug paraphernalia including: a bottle of oxycodone in C.H.'s name; hypodermic syringes; a baggie containing an unknown white powder; a Samsung cell phone; unknown red pills, and more syringes.

Searches were conducted on the phones taken from the home. A phone number in one of the phones was under the contact name "Joe." The number was looked up by law enforcement and came back to CAPEHART. CAPEHART sent C.H. several text messages on October 4 and 5, 2011.

CAPEHART contacted law enforcement following C.H.'s death to report that he had information about her death. During several tape recorded interviews with law enforcement in the days following C.H.'s death, CAPEHART reported "middling" a deal between C.H. and another individual for a small amount of methadone tablets. CAPEHART initially reported the transaction occurred in the week before C.H.'s death.

CAPEHART now admits that he knew C.H. and that at one point approximately one month before her death, C.H. asked him to trade a quantity of methadone pills for oxycontin pills - C.H.'s drug of choice. Approximately one week before her death, CAPEHART reports that C.H. contacted him and asked for the methadone pills back. CAPEHART reports giving C.H. the 10 to 15 methadone, 10 milligram tablets back in the week before her death.

During the search of C.H.'s house, law enforcement found approximately 30 methadone pills in a bottle, not including the methadone pills C.H. self-injected prior to her death. The evidence is unclear if C.H. obtained additional methadone pills from a source other than CAPEHART in the days prior to her death.

CAPEHART faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Miles City Police Department, the Custer County Sheriff's Office, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.

Updated January 14, 2015