Jury convicts Fort Belknap man of strangling woman
GREAT FALLS – A jury on Friday convicted a Fort Belknap man accused of assaulting and strangling a woman in Lodge Pole on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation last year, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
The jury found Jordan Alexander Werk, 32, guilty of assault by striking, beating or wounding and of strangulation. The jury acquitted Werk of assault of a dating partner resulting in substantial bodily injury. Werk faces a maximum 10 years, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the strangulation charge and a maximum one year in prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release on the assault count.
The trial began on Thursday, with U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presiding. Judge Morris set sentencing for June 3 and continued Werk’s detention.
“There is no excuse for assaulting a woman. We know that Native women face higher rates of violence and sexual violence and we are committed to prosecuting those who prey on them. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart, the FBI and the Fort Belknap tribal law enforcement for investigating and prosecuting this case,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
The prosecution presented evidence at trial that Werk assaulted and strangled the victim on April 8, 2019 in Lodge Pole in Blaine County and on the Fort Belknap Reservation. The victim reported on April 8, 2019 that Werk had assaulted her by grabbing her hair and throwing her to the ground. Werk kicked her in the chest, punched her in the head and choked her, causing her to see stars and have trouble breathing.
The victim also told law enforcement that during the assault, Werk told her that he knew how to hit someone to not show bruises and that if she was going to act like a victim, then he would treat her like one. The victim was treated for injuries, including a broken rib, at the Indian Health Service in Harlem.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Fort Belknap tribal law enforcement.