by Travis Mateer
Before recording this week’s wrap up of the Lee Nelson murder trial, I stopped in a local pawn shop to take a picture of their memorial for the well-known homeless man. Here it is:
If you only read local media’s brief account of the trial’s conclusion, like NBC Montana’s regurgitation of the press release, you’d be forgiven for thinking the state did a fantastic job investigating and prosecuting this horrific crime. History is written by the victor, after all.
“This case investigation was led by Detective Guy Baker and involved all of the resources the Missoula Police Department had to offer. This includes the patrol division, additional detectives, and the crime scene investigators. This case was successfully prosecuted due to a lot of hard work by Deputy County Attorney Mac Bloom and Deputy County Attorney Caitlin Creighton ,” according to a release from Missoula County.
While I hope justice was served by this trial, there are questions that possibly the sentencing portion of this process may illuminate. From the KGVO article (emphasis mine):
Bloom said now that the trial is over, the sentencing phase will take several months.
“The sentence will be determined in April, and I believe sentencing was set for April 17 at 9:00 a.m,” he said. “The court is going to set a special setting to allow the parties more time to argue for what they believe to be an appropriate sentence. We have to look at a lot of things including criminal history, background, and other information. At this point, the Department of Corrections starts preparing what’s called a pre-sentence investigation report, and that just goes through and outlines every aspect of a person’s life, their education, history, their work history, their family history, their criminal history, and prepares a report so that all the parties and the court know exactly what kind of a person we’re working with and then can tailor a sentence appropriately.”
Yes, more work for the criminal justice system means more opportunity for me to bring peeks and insights, and you can help! Just go to my about page and make a contribution today!
Next week there’s a coroner’s inquest I’ll be in court to watch, and then there’s getting back to Helena at some point to either observe or provide comment, because that sounds like fun! But not as much fun as the OUTRO to the podcast episode above, which begins at the 1 hour 13 minute mark and features a pairing of two audio clips you’ll just have to check out!
Thanks for reading/listening!