The Absurd Disparity Between The Treatment of Johnny Lee Perry Vs. Brandon Bryant By Missoula’s Criminal Injustice System, In Verse

by William Skink

I continue to be amazed that no charges have been filed against Johnny Lee Perry for his hands-on role in the death of Sean Stevenson. I found this AP piece from January 6th. Here’s an excerpt:

A 29-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of felony aggravated assault, but was subsequently released without charges while police investigate a claim of self-defense, the Missoulian reported.

“We’re going to continue working with law enforcement to make sure we understand everything that happened, and once we do, we’re going to make a decision on whether or not the individual needs to be tried,” said Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Matt Jennings.

This kind of slow deliberation while the perp remains free from custody was not extended to Brandon Bryant. To highlight the absurdity of these two cases, here’s a poetic juxtaposition:

use your hands
to extinguish life
then claim defense
in the Treasure State
and if the dead man
has no home?
County Attorney shrugs
charges? nope


use your words
to threaten life
of elected officials
in the Treasure State
and if their TIF scheme
might be exposed?
felony charges
in lockdown clothes


use your brain
to question life
who has worth
in the Treasure State?
and if the answer
confounds your mind
the hands walk free
while the word does time

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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6 Responses to The Absurd Disparity Between The Treatment of Johnny Lee Perry Vs. Brandon Bryant By Missoula’s Criminal Injustice System, In Verse

  1. Michael Quinn says:

    When will the police announce whether charges will be filed against Perry? I know they conducted an autopsy on Stevenson, will the results affect the decision to press charges? Crazy to think they’d let this man walk free in the community without even a trial.

  2. Jiji Ortiz says:

    The only thing amazing about these incidents is the fact that two homeless men made the news over a scuffle. Think about it. Stevenson wasn’t even dead when it hit the press. Sad but true. That fact speaks volumes. You can bet there’s a sinister undercurrent. There’s a strategic release of certain facts. There’s clear agenda in not divulging others. Things that would usually be vocalized and exploited by the media without hesitation have gone “politely” unmentioned.
    As for Bryant, it’s clear this is about control. “They” will feed off their own children if it means protecting their delicious lifestyles. I do not mean this to sound callous or flip.

    The two situations are both appalling and although they seem disjointed there’s a common undercurrent. What is amazing is that a known killer roams the streets of Missoula. Ask yourself under what circumstances this would generally be tolerated? Realize, in both situations human rights and civil liberties have been violated. If they can do it to them, it can be done to you. One man has been murdered. What’s your bet on the life expectancy for either Perry or Bryant?

  3. Joseph Banks says:

    This kind of justice coming out of the Police Department is just absurd and someone in this administration has to have a conscience There is a family here that is grieving for their loss without any due process for the death, murder and loss of their father, son and brother. Sean Stevenson. Public Servants have a responsibility to the interest of those that they serve, even if they are less fortunate in life. They are not just suppose to serve themselves and their own personal interest, as we can see that they did do in the custody of Brandon Bryant. They were afraid of a threat that could harm themselves or their loved ones but this administration of the law has had no mercy whatsoever on the family of Sean Stevenson or backbone to deliver justice to them, as required by law and this was a real and realized actual tragedy.

  4. Angela Eve says:

    In your post on January 8th, titled, “Why Is The City Of Missoula Setting Policy For The Poverello Center?” (For those who haven’t read the previous posts and comments here, I strongly encourage you to go back, read, comment, and share), you began citing a quote from the executive director of the Pov posted by NBC Montana the day before. In the article, Amy Allison-Thompson goes on to say this:
    “If the issue was particularly egregious, then they would not be allowed back…That’s decided by a committee basis, that we gather together on a weekly basis to review.”

    Imagine the horror, of learning that Johnny was not only back on the streets, but back at the Pov after being arrested for Sean’s murder! But after the attack (here goes that “disparity” you point out again) a guest who talked too much at the Pov gets kicked out!
    “Behavioral model”, huh?
    Maybe “murder” doesn’t fall in the “egregious” category for Amy. It seems the Pov committee is blindly following the county attorney’s example. If your words are too strong, truthful, or revealing, ‘SHUTUP or else’…! If the force of your hands is too strong, just say, “self defense!”  How is it that we do not see a scratch on Johnny’s mugshot after an aggravated assault on Sean that was supposed to qualify as “self defense”(-“sufficient level of counteracting force or violence”) that killed Sean on site, according to someone “on the inside”? Did Sean have scratches or bruises after being resuscitated, rushed to the ER, and then to the grave? Did the elected officials, who had Bryant barred, have a single scratch?  Do they read their own laws? It’s amazing how they can conveniently choose when things apply-1st Amendment, 5th Amendment, 6th, 7th, and 8th?
    Use your 1st amendment right, and your 8th amendment right gets violated???Sounds like a catch 22. Truly Amazing!!!

  5. Djinn&Tonic says:

    “someone in this administration has to have a conscience” …
    typical naïveté No one “in this administration” has a conscience. That’s NOT how POWER works. Might makes Right. Money runs this town. Change my mind.

  6. Charles Bernard says:

    While it seems some people are at least commenting on this horrific event is there no one at the POV, staff or resident…no one among the responders, EMTs or police…no one involved with the entire sordid episode willing to be a “verbal” Good Samaritan for the sake of Stevenson’s surely grieving family ????

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