Judge: Montana murder case not a 'crime of violence'July 11, 2018 9:24pm

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man faces resentencing next month in the 2003 murder of his uncle after a judge said the shooting did not meet the definition of a violent crime.

Quinton Birdinground Jr., 38, is scheduled to appear Aug. 23 before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters in Billings.

Federal Defender David Ness said Wednesday he expects to ask for a sentence of time served — meaning Birdinground would be released — but has not made a final decision.

Birdinground is serving 24 years in federal prison for assaulting his estranged girlfriend and killing Emerson Pickett during an argument in Crow Agency after a night of drinking.

The original sentence included 10 years for using a firearm during a violent crime.

Watters this month threw out that conviction, saying the violent crime law was so vague as to be unconstitutional. She cited a 2015 Supreme Court ruling.

Birdinground will be resentenced on two remaining counts: second-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Birdinground has been incarcerated for more than 15 years since his arrest in February 2003.

If he were released, Ness said Birdinground likely would remain under supervision of federal authorities for some period of time.

He was charged with killing Pickett after finding the victim with Birdinground's estranged girlfriend, Leitha Yellowmule. Yellowmule's hand was grazed by the same bullet that killed Pickett, prosecutors said.

The defense had argued at Birdinground's trial that the shooting was accidental.

In her order throwing out the charge of using a firearm during a violent crime, Watters wrote that neither second-degree murder nor assault is itself considered a "crime of violence" under federal law. That's because they may have been committed recklessly rather than intentionally, as is required to be considered a violent crime.

"Birdinground used a firearm, but not 'during and in relation to a crime of violence,' " Watters wrote.

U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme declined to say whether prosecutors will request a new sentence that would keep Birdinground in prison.

Alme's office is reviewing the case with the Office of Solicitor General at the Justice Department for a possible appeal of Watters' decision, but that can't be filed until after sentencing, he said.

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Man gets 33 months for racist threats directed at Howard UA northern Virginia man has been sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison for threatening to murder African Americans at historically black Howard University in 2015
Florida publication seeks FBI 9/11 records on family's tiesAn online publication in Florida has asked a federal appeals court to order a trial on the release of records from the FBI's 9/11 Review Commission
Governor says he'd reject NRA endorsementMaryland's Republican governor told a group of students at a school where a teen fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and himself that he'd reject a National Rifle Association endorsement if it were offered
Judge rejects US efforts to strip terrorist of citizenshipA federal judge has rejected an effort by the Department of Justice to strip a terrorist of U.S. citizenship
FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, Ever Reyes Mejia, of Honduras, carries his son to a vehicle after being reunited and released by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Trump administration said Thursday, July 19, that it has reunified 364 children ages 5 and older with their families after they were separated at the border, still leaving hundreds to go before a court-imposed deadline a week away. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
More than 300 older children split at border are reunited
Court: Law doesn't bar sex-orientation discrimination on jobA federal appeals court in Atlanta is reaffirming its decision that workers aren't protected against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation

Related Searches

Related Searches