Two Lolo Blowgun Suspects Receive Three Year Deferred Sentences In District Court
Two of the men charged with multiple charges of aggravated animal cruelty, Tucker Miller and Hayden Barker, were sentenced on Tuesday afternoon by Judge Karen Townsend in Missoula District Court to three year deferred sentences.
Miller, Barker and Matthew Breeden used blowguns to shoot darts into numerous pets in Lolo in 2015.
The blow dart attacks began last October, and over 15 different individuals reported their pets had been attacked, and turned the blow darts over to Animal Control. One witness reported that someone purchased a blowgun and several darts at Sportsman’s Warehouse. After viewing the surveillance video of the purchase at the store, it was determined that the individuals involved were Miller, Breeden and Barker.
Court records indicate the following:
"Breeden said that he and the others began to get nervous after the news of pets being darted began to spread on social media. Breeden said he and Miller took the blowgun up into the mountains, destroyed it and buried beside a dirt road. Later, Breeden led Detective David Walrod to the site where they buried the blowgun. Walrod seized the blowgun that had been chopped into pieces.”
Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks explained the sentences.
“Judge Townsend for Mr. Miller and Mr. Barker imposed a three year deferred imposition of sentence, required community service, and in Mr. Barker’s case, an additional $2,500 fine,” Marks said.
Marks said Judge Townsend had harsh words for the defendants during their sentencing.
“I think she expressed that contrary to what they had said when accepting responsibility, she didn’t feel this was just an impulsive mistake, but that it was mean and showed cruelty and was reprehensible conduct," he said.
The third individual, Matthew Breeden, will plead guilty to his charges at a later date.
Marks said Judge Townsend imposed a deferred sentence due to the fact that they were both very young with no significant criminal history. If they do not follow the guidelines of their deferred sentences, they could each have to spend up to three years in prison.