KEEPING MISSOULA COUNTY SAFE

BEHIND BARS

The primary function of the Criminal Division of the Missoula County Attorney’s Office is protection of the community and making Missoula a safe place to work, raise families and live. The Criminal Division is made up of many talented trial attorneys who prosecute violent crimes, sexual crimes, property and financial crimes, drug crimes, juvenile offenders, and DUI/driving death and injury crimes. These skilled litigators on our criminal prosecution team handle cases from their inception, to trial, through appeals, and parole board hearings; ensuring that justice is served in every step of the process.

NOTEWORTHY CASES

Emmanuel GomezEmmanuel Gomez hit, kicked, and beat his girlfriend for months before he murdered her and dumped her body in Pattee Canyon in sub-freezing temperatures.  Kirsten Pabst and Jordan Kilby argued that Gomez should serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole so he will live out his remaining days behind the walls of the Montana State Prison.

Becky Richards – At her parole hearing this year, Seeley Lake woman Becky Lynn Richards finally admitted she shot her husband Jim after 25 years of maintaining her innocence. A Missoula jury convicted her of Deliberate Homicide in 1992 despite her claim that he committed suicide.  The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole agreed with the Missoula County Attorney’s Office and denied her parole.  She will remain behind bars at the Montana Women’s Prison for a least three more years.

Rory CastleKirsten Pabst argued at Castle’s parole hearing that he should remain behind bars for the remainder of his life.  Castle was convicted in 1993 of kidnapping and torturing his ex-girlfriend by tying her up, beating her, pouring gas on her and throwing lit matches toward her.  He told the Board of Pardons and Parole that he was ready for a fresh start. Victim Witness Coordinator Cathy Dorle and Pabst convinced the Board to deny parole, citing other instances of Castle’s extreme violence towards women.

Scott Price and Sarah McKnightPrice and McKnight went on a murderous crime-spree stabbing a Missoula woman in a grocery store parking lot in broad daylight and then killing another woman at the hotel where she worked as a maid.  They left her body, stole her car, ditched the knife and fled out of state.  Price will spend the rest of his life at the Montana State Prison.  McKnight must serve two life sentences before becoming eligible for parole. 

Cole FranciscoFrancisco was arrested after following several young girls to and from their bus stops and exposing himself.  He was charged with multiple counts and Pabst recommended he spend 20 years in prison.  The judge sentenced him to 10 years and ordered him to complete sexual offender treatment while in prison.

Thomas EveredIn 2006, County Attorney Pabst prosecuted Evered for filming child pornography while he molested two young boys.  Pabst worked together with the US Attorney’s Office, FBI, Interpol, and America’s Most Wanted, to put him behind bars.  In 2016, Pabst successfully argued to the Parole Board that Evered remains a predator and is still not suitable for release. 

Donald TownTown is a Level III predatory sexual offender, later charged with possession of child pornography in Missoula County.  Town was sentenced to life in the Montana State Prison without the possibility of parole.  He will spend his remaining days locked up where he will never be able to harm or exploit another child. 

Jeffory LafieldLaField was convicted of DUI—NINTH offense.  Because of his long record of driving while impaired, LaField sentenced as a Persistent Felony Offender rather than under the DUI penalties.  He is now in prison serving a 10-year sentence, followed by another 10 years on probation. 

Thomas EnglertIn 1983, Englert was convicted of Deliberate Homicide.  After an elderly woman befriended Englert, he broke into her home, tried to suffocate her, raped her and then fatally stabbed her.  The Missoula County Attorney’s Office successfully argued to the Board of Pardons and Parole that Englert should not be released.   He will remain behind bars for at least the next six years. 

Markus Kaarma -Kaarma was prosecuted for shooting a teenager who was trespassing in Kaarma’s garage.  Kaarma believed he was justified in killing the boy, but the jury disagreed.  He was convicted of Deliberate Homicide and sentenced to 70 years in the Montana State Prison. The Montana Supreme Court recently affirmed the conviction so Kaarma will remain behind bars.

Erik Nugent47 year-old Erik Nugent is a predatory child molester who remains behind bars after being prosecuted for drugging and sexually assaulting girls as young as 12 years old.  

UPDATE!  Nugent was just sentenced to 100 years in prison and designated a Level III offender.