Missoula County District Court Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps started a Thursday sentencing by saying he would not follow the plea agreement in the case.
He called the prosecution's sentence request for a woman who killed her boyfriend in a crash while driving after smoking marijuana “beyond the realm of reasonableness.”
Trai Ann Dewey pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in September under a plea agreement that called for a 30-year sentence to the Department of Corrections with 25 years suspended, a punishment Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks said was in line with other similar cases in Missoula.
“I’m going to go lower,” Deschamps told him. “This is ridiculous in my view. Thirty years?”
The judge said for a first conviction, even a serious felony like Dewey’s, he was known to give fully deferred sentences. He eventually did just that by imposing a six-year deferred sentence on her.
On Feb. 10 around 7 p.m., then 19-year-old Dewey was driving north on U.S. Highway 93 with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Joseph Neal Bremner. According to court records, Dewey swerved her Dodge Durango into oncoming traffic and was T-boned by another vehicle.
Bremner was killed in the wreck.
Dewey later told a Montana Highway Patrol trooper she and Bremner were smoking marijuana before they left Missoula to go to Polson. Marijuana, as well as a broken bottle of malt liquor, were found in the Dodge, according to court documents.
As part of the sentence, Dewey will be required to complete a drug and alcohol treatment program, and cannot drink, use drugs or go into a bar for the duration of her sentence.
On Thursday, both of Bremner’s parents said they wanted Dewey to be given a “second chance,” with his mother saying nothing the judge could do would bring back her son.
“I’m not going to go to my grave a mad person, a resentful person,” his father said.
Dewey told Bremner’s parents she loved their son.
“I never intended this, I never wanted to hurt him,” she said.
She said she has been sober since the crash and wants to go back to school, which she stopped after being charged with killing her boyfriend.
Deschamps said he intended to give Dewey the benefit of the doubt.
“I’m going to give you a break too. But I’ve got to tell you, don’t break my heart,” he said “Good luck. I don’t want to see you again.”