Kalispell man sentenced in Helena armed home robbery
HELENA—A Kalispell man who admitted participating in a Helena armed home invasion of a couple involved in trafficking heroin was sentenced today to six and one-half years in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Morgan Victor Pitsch, 25, pleaded guilty in October to robbery affecting commerce and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon presided.
The prosecution said in court records that the FBI learned of a home invasion in Helena in which the victims, a couple, were involved in trafficking heroin. The couple had been given money by co-defendant, Kielan Brett Franklin, to travel to Washington to buy an ounce of heroin. The couple returned with less than an ounce. When the couple did not immediately turn over the heroin, Franklin sent them threatening text messages.
On March 8, 2019, Franklin, Pitsch and co-defendants Arielle Rose Cowser and Gerald Allen Hiler, went to the couple’s residence. Pitsch possessed a pistol during the robbery, while the others searched for drugs, money and other valuables. The robbers fled when they learned that the female victim had secretly dialed 911. They took a small amount of heroin, the female victim’s wedding ring, cell phone and other items.
Hiler pleaded guilty to charges and was sentenced to 11 years and seven months in prison. Franklin has pleaded guilty to charges and is awaiting sentencing. A jury convicted Cowser of robbery charges. Cowser is to be sentenced on June 11.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bartleson is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Montana Regional Violent Crime Task Force, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Missouri River Drug Task Force.