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Press Release

Scott Tyler Winchell Sentenced In U.S. District Court

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 13, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, SCOTT TYLER WINCHELL, a 19-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. WINCHELL was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 12 months and 1 day

Special Assessment: $200

Supervised Release: 3 years

WINCHELL was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number and possession of an unregistered firearm.

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

On May 11, 2012, a Billings Police officer observed a white Lincoln Towncar traveling east on King Avenue East in Billings. The vehicle failed to dim its lights and the officer attempted to make a traffic stop. The vehicle failed to stop, turned corners on several blocks and hit a dead-end street where it stopped. The driver exited the vehicle and ran. The officer contacted the registered owner of the vehicle and received permission to search the vehicle.

Drug paraphernalia found on the car's front seat and shotgun ammunition in the glove compartment were recovered during the search. The officer also observed what appeared to be a sawed-off rifle in the trunk and stopped his search. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called and a state search warrant obtained. Recovered was Ruger, model 10/22, .22 caliber, semi-automatic rifle, serial number obliterated, having an overall length of approximately 19 3/4" and a barrel length of approximately 9 7/16" that was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer record. Both the barrel and the overall length were in violation of federal law and had clearly been sawn off. In addition, the serial number had been ground off.

The owner reported that he had purchased the car for WINCHELL and that WINCHELL had been driving it. The officer identified WINCHELL as the person who had been driving the car and had ran from the scene.

Law enforcement attempted to contact WINCHELL and spoke with his brother. His brother asked how much trouble WINCHELL was in and reported that WINCHELL "didn't even have a chance to shoot the guns yet." The officer also spoke with WINCHELL's mother who stated that WINCHELL would haven't had the guns for a bad purpose. She reported she would have WINCHELL contact the officer, but that did not occur.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that WINCHELL will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, WINCHELL does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Updated January 14, 2015