By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Hill County Attorney's Office filed a charge of aggravated assault Monday against Lionel James Demontiney in connection with the beating of another man during the weekend.
The alleged victim, Gabriel Cheatam, was listed in fair condition at Benefis Healthcare in Great Falls this morning. Cheatam's mother, Jackie Cobb, told Havre police that Cheatam has multiple facial bone fractures, that his jaw is not attached to his skull and that he will lose the sight in one of his eyes, according to the charging document filed Monday in Hill County Justice Court.
Demontiney, 20, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted.
Demontiney was convicted by a state District Court jury in Havre in June 2001 of mitigated deliberate homicide in the shooting death of his cousin, Bryan Gopher, in an altercation at the Holiday Village Shopping Center parking lot on Nov. 22, 2000.
The Montana Supreme Court overturned the conviction in July 2002, saying Judge John Warner had given incorrect jury instructions at the end of the trial, which produced a flawed verdict. The high court also said Demontiney could not be tried again in the shooting death.
The charging document in this weekend's assault case said Havre police Sgt. Gabe Matosich responded to a call at 7:37 p.m. Saturday reporting that a man was lying in alley after he had been assaulted.
Matosich found Cheatam in the alley, bleeding from his face and mouth, the court document said. Matosich called for an ambulance.
A witness told the officer that Demontiney, 20, had arrived at the scene in a van, then approached Cheatam and began beating him after saying, "Don't do that to my brother," the charging document said.
When Matosich and other officers later that evening located Demontiney at the apartment of a Havre woman, Matosich noticed a drop of blood on the floor of the apartment, blood on Demontiney's jacket and a substance that appeared to be blood on the bottom of one of his slippers, the charging document said.
The woman told Matosich that she had left Demontiney alone at the apartment while she went shopping for groceries and visited her sister, and he could have left while she was gone, the document said.
She told Matosich that Demontiney's mother had told Demontiney that his brother, Christopher Demontiney, had been beaten up, the document said. The woman said Demontiney had gone to another residence "to find a name" before she left him at her apartment, according to the charging document.