BILLINGS (AP) - A man who took 100 sexually explicit photos of a 10-year-old girl was sentenced Thursday to almost 22 years in federal prison on child pornography and other charges.
U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull called Jeffrey Speelman of Ashland a "predator of young children."
The judge said he had carefully studied the pre-sentence report and saw "page after page that describes things I've never read in my entire tenure on the bench. I hope never to see anything like that again."
Speelman, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and former teacher at schools in Busby, Belfry, Jordan and Lame Deer, pleaded guilty to federal charges in September.
Speelman admitted that he received child pornography on his home computer and collected it on disks between October 1998 and May 2002. He also pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual acts with a child under the age of 12 between 1991 and 1994 and to having had sexual contact with another child between 2001 and 2002.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia Hurd described the 41-year-old defendant as a pedophile and child pornographer "seriously in need of treatment and seriously in need of punishment."
Speelman was taken back to jail by U.S. marshals.
MISSOULA (AP) _ The man accused of negligent homicide in the Jan. 1 shooting death of Ebon Levelle pleaded not guilty Thursday.
Keegan Strelnik, 21, was allegedly holding the weapon when it fired. He and two other people in Levelle's house at the time said the 29-year-old victim had grabbed the barrel and pointed it toward his own head, court documents say.
In addition to the negligent homicide charge, Strelnik also faces one count of evidence tampering for allegedly removing drugs and drug paraphernalia from Levelle's home before calling for help.
Strelnik remains in the Missoula County jail on $50,000 bail.
GREAT FALLS (AP) _ A Great Falls woman accused of trading methamphetamines for stolen goods has been ordered to serve four years in federal prison.
Eulalie Thiebert, 42, then will be on probation for another four years, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon said.
Her partner, convicted Great Falls drug dealer Sherry Frasure, 53 _ the alleged head of an art-theft and drug ring that Thiebert participated in _ was sentenced in March to 10 years in federal prison on drug charges.
Police believe Frasure and other members of the ring obtained more than $100,000 in art, antiques and other goods by having people steal items to trade for drugs, or by stealing them themselves.
Frasure and Thiebert still are facing related felony theft charges in state District Court. Thiebert's trial begins Feb. 23; Frasure's on Feb. 24.
DILLON (AP) - Nearly 40 people have applied for the position of chancellor at the University of Montana-Western.
The search committee hopes to have a new chancellor at the school by July 1, said Susan Briggs, the committee's chairwoman.
"We're happy to see such a good qualified pool of applicants," she said.
The new chancellor will replace Stephen Hulbert, who accepted a job as president for Nicholls State University in Baton Rouge, La., in the summer of 2003. Hulbert took the post as Western's chancellor in 1999.
Karl Ulrich has served as interim chancellor since Hulbert's departure.
The 15-member committee includes members of Western's faculty, staff and contract professionals, a representative from the University of Montana-Missoula and two community members.
The committee will pare the applicant pool to about 12 over the next two weeks. Those 12 will be called to see if they're still interested and for permission to contact their references.
From that group, three to five will be selected to make the trip to Dillon for interviews.
GREAT FALLS (AP) _ A Wolf Point man who held a church worker captive at knifepoint a year ago was sentenced Thursday to 27 years, three months in federal prison for kidnapping and assault with a weapon.
Elroy Martin, 40, also must pay nearly $700 in restitution and faces five years probation once he's released.
Martin walked to Immaculate Conception Church in Wolf Point the morning of Feb. 28 and grabbed Linda Johnson, the religious director for the church. He held a knife to her throat, dragged her into a storage room and told Sister Mary Hourigan to call police. Johnson was eventually able to escape after a struggle over the knife.
Martin, a former convict, told U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon that he was depressed over the deaths of his parents and previously said he was having trouble adjusting to life outside prison. He said he had hoped police would shoot him.