Nearly a year after the torture and murder of Gilbert "Jack" Berry beneath Missoula's Reserve Street Bridge, his 28-year-old killer is going to prison.
Kevin Joseph Lino pleaded no contest to deliberate homicide in a District Court hearing earlier this year, and on Wednesday morning was sentenced to 40 years in the Montana State Prison.
Missoula District Judge Karen Townsend cited Lino's lengthy criminal history and prolific gang involvement before handing down the sentence.
That criminal past necessitated, and justified, the strict sentencing, the judge said, along with Lino's bad behavior while in the Missoula County jail and his poor performance while on probation for earlier crimes.
Of the decades he will spend in prison, Townsend ordered no time suspended, and also ordered Lino to pay $4,018 to Berry's grandmother as restitution.
Lino, who was incarcerated for the duration of his court proceedings, stood before Townsend with his attorney, Thomas Bartleson. By Wednesday afternoon, Lino was listed as an inmate at the Montana State Prison.
According to prosecutors, Lino and another transient named Kenneth Hickman beat Berry after an argument erupted in the Reserve Street transient camp last July 30.
The court documents charging Lino allege that after Hickman knocked Berry to the ground, Lino tortured the older man, carving gang symbols into his body and stuffing lit cigarettes in his nose.
Ultimately, Lino shot Berry in the head and dumped his body in the Clark Fork River. His body wasn't found until Aug. 5.
A subsequent autopsy revealed that Berry had not drowned, but died of a gunshot wound to the head.
In their investigation, Missoula County sheriff's detectives started with Gilbert's girlfriend, Susan Prentkiewicz, who was staying at the camp with him.
She said that Hickman and Berry kicked and stomped Gilbert, and tortured him.
Gilbert was alive, but bloodied, when she was allegedly escorted out of the camp by Hickman and Hickman's girlfriend, Mechailiah Tembreull.
Prentkiewicz heard a gunshot from afar, but was later told her boyfriend took a train back to Pennsylvania.
Hickman and Tembreull were interviewed by investigators at another transient camp near the Kim Williams Trail. Hickman told deputies that he hit Gilbert, but claimed the rest of the beating and torture was at the hands of Lino.
He said he wasn’t present when Lino shot Gilbert in the head and dumped him in the river.
According to charging documents, however, Tembreull contradicted that statement and told officers that Hickman was present during the shooting.
Both Tembreull and Hickman were arrested, but Lino and his girlfriend had already fled the area.
Lino was picked up in Shreveport, Louisiana, in late August and repeatedly declined extradition to Missoula. On Sept. 19, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Department requested a governor’s warrant to have Lino transported back to Missoula to face the homicide charge.
He arrived in Missoula on Oct. 22 and repeatedly denied the felony count of deliberate homicide before agreeing to the plea deal with Missoula County prosecutors.
In April, he pleaded no contest to one count of deliberate homicide.
Lino's girlfriend, Angela Marchese, was charged with obstructing justice and later absconded. She was picked up in Virginia and transported back to Missoula. The charge was dismissed on June 4.
Tembreull pleaded not guilty to accountability to aggravated assault, a charge that was dismissed by the court on May 27.
Hickman pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in April and was sentenced to 15 years – with 10 years suspended – with the Department of Corrections.