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This Hour: Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

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MISSING MONTANA TEACHER UPDATE

Judge asked to toss statement in oil-patch slaying

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Montana judge will decide if a suspect's alleged confession to his involvement in the slaying of a woman jogger should be suppressed because the defendant is mentally disabled.

District Judge Richard Simonton has scheduled an Oct. 1 hearing in Sidney in the case of 25-year-old Michael Spell of Parachute, Colorado.

Spell is accused of killing 43-year-old Sherry Arnold during an attempted abduction. The high school teacher disappeared while jogging in Sidney in January 2012. Her body was found more than two months later in North Dakota.

Spell's attorney says he was not mentally capable of waiving his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present for the FBI interview.

Prosecutors say Spell's statements were lawfully obtained.

A second defendant has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors.

CASCADE DEPUTY KILLED

More charges in chase that included deputy's death

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - A Great Falls man who is charged with deliberate homicide in the death of a Cascade County sheriff's deputy faces charges that he tried to assault two other officers and endangered two motorists during an Aug. 14 chase.

County Attorney John Parker told the Great Falls Tribune that felony charges of assault with a weapon, assault on a peace officer and two counts of criminal endangerment were filed against 40-year-old Adam Sanchez Jr. He was served with the warrant Thursday at the Chouteau County jail in Fort Benton, where he is being held on $5 million bond in the death of Deputy Joe Dunn.

Prosecutors allege Sanchez tried to hit a Great Falls police officer with his car while the officer laid stop sticks and assaulted another officer as he was being arrested.

MISSING GIRL

Missing Lame Deer girl found safe

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A 14-year-old Lame Deer girl who was the subject of an Amber Alert on Wednesday has been recovered and is safe.

Northern Cheyenne law enforcement asked the state Department of Justice to cancel the alert at 3 a.m. Thursday.

Officials were searching for Mariah Eileen Akeen, believing she had been kidnapped.

State officials said Akeen was in the passenger seat of a pickup truck without license plates that was stopped at 2 a.m. Wednesday. Officers were arresting the driver when another passenger, 19-year-old Zachary Whiteman, jumped into the driver's seat and left with Akeen still inside.

Tribal law enforcement declined to release any information about where Akeen was found. Officials referred questions to Bureau of Indian Affairs spokeswoman Nedra Darling in Washington, D.C., who did not return a call for comment.

INDIAN COUNTRY HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Officials say oil ill effects reach MT reservation

POPLAR, Mont. (AP) - Tribal officials say eastern Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation is feeling the adverse effects of the drilling boom on the nearby Bakken oil fields.

Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux tribes chairman Rusty Stafne says crime has increased but the reservation isn't seeing the economic gains of neighbors in North Dakota and far eastern Montana. He spoke at a listening session hosted by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Several members of North Dakota's Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation attended the meeting. Their Fort Berthold Indian Reservation produces 300,000 barrels of oil a day. The oil has brought money to the reservation, but Jodi Lee Spotted Bear says it has also come with violence and drugs.

She says the impact on Fort Peck is now just "a drop in the bucket" of what it could be.

INDIAN LAND

Government makes buy-back offers on Indian lands

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. government has offered to buy land parcels in Arizona and Montana from 4,300 American Indians who have fractional ownership interests and give the land back to the tribes.

The Interior Department said Thursday it made offers totaling $19.2 million to 2,500 individual owners of land on Montana's Northern Cheyenne reservation and $77.6 million to 1,836 individual owners of parcels on Arizona's Gila River reservation.

The voluntary program is part of a $3.4 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed by Elouise Cobell of Browning, Montana. The lawsuit claimed Interior Department officials mismanaged trust money held by the government for hundreds of thousands of Indian landowners.

The program aims to consolidate as many parcels as possible after an 1887 law split tribal lands into individual allotments that were inherited by multiple heirs.

CLARK FORK RIVER BODY

Woman enters assault plea, body found in river

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A woman arrested after a man's body was found in the Clark Fork River has denied a charge alleging she was involved in an assault on the man.

KTMF-TV reports Michailiah Tembruell pleaded not guilty Thursday to accountability for aggravated assault in the death of 36-year-old Gilbert Barry. His body was found in the river Aug. 6. An autopsy determined he had been beaten and shot.

Co-defendant Kenneth Hickman, who is charged with aggravated assault, was not ready to enter a plea

District Judge Brenda Desmond denied Tembruell's request to be released without bond and Hickman's request for reduced bail, but she approved both for screening for pre-trial supervision.

Officers have a warrant charging 27-year-old Kevin Joseph Lino with deliberate homicide in Barry's death. Officers suspected 27-year-old Angela Marchese is a witness.

NORTHERN CHANCELLOR RESIGNS

MSU Northern chancellor resigns

HAVRE, Mont. (AP) - The chancellor of Montana State University-Northern is resigning, effective Friday.

James Limbaugh sent an email to Northern faculty and staff Thursday saying that continuing controversy on campus and in the community "has become a significant distraction to the achievement of our common goals," and that he was resigning for the sake of the institution.

The Havre Daily News reports Havre residents began circulating a petition calling for Limbaugh's ouster after football coach Mark Samson was forced out for apparently paying football camp staff without running camp proceeds through university accounts.

Provost Rosalyn Templeton resigned nearly a year ago after a co-worker complained she had sexually harassed him while the director of Northern's nursing department resigned in January after three weeks on administrative leave.

Limbaugh came to MSU-Northern in January 2012.

KALISPELL WALMART-FATAL FALL

OSHA reviewing conflicting accounts in fatal fall

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - The area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration says an employee at the Kalispell Walmart died in a fall from a movable staircase in a storeroom and not a ladder, as was initially reported.

Jeff Funke tells the Missoulian the investigation is also looking into the time it took an ambulance crew to respond to the store. OSHA regulations require a workplace to "ensure the ready availability of medical personnel" or have employees trained to render first aid.

Funke says OSHA is sorting out witness statements about the Aug. 22 fall and the investigation may take four to six months.

Flathead County Sheriff and Coroner Chuck Curry said 57-year-old Larry Wurtz died at the Kalispell hospital four days after he fell.

WHITEFISH STABBING-PLEA

Whitefish woman pleads guilty to stabbing husband

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A Whitefish woman who stabbed her husband in the chest during an argument, causing fatal injuries, has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

AnnMari Newton entered her plea Wednesday before District Judge Ted Lympus in Kalispell. Sentencing is set for Oct. 30.

Deputy Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner said Thursday that prosecutors will recommend she be sentenced to 20 years with the Department of Corrections with 15 suspended. The department would determine her placement. An alternative charge of mitigated deliberate homicide will be dismissed.

AnnMari Newton was arrested in November and initially charged with assault with a weapon for injuries suffered by her husband, Chad Newton, on Nov. 25.

His family removed him from life support on Dec. 28 after a judge awarded his father the authority to make medical decisions. He died the next day.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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