Subscribe for 33¢ / day

A former Shepherd resident convicted of killing a woman in Glasgow on New Year’s Eve in 2016 has been sentenced to 40 more years after a failed jailbreak attempt.

Jay Donald Witkowski was sentenced on Feb. 20 in Valley County District Court on a single count of aggravated kidnapping. The 40 years will run consecutively to the 80 years he was sentenced to in the earlier homicide case.

The state had recommended the 40-year sentence and agreed to drop other charges under a plea deal. Those were attempted escape and criminal mischief, both felonies, and unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

Aug. 24, 2017, Witkowski and another inmate overpowered a detention officer and stole her keys in an attempt to escape custody, said Valley County Sheriff Vern Buerkle.

Witkowski had been held at the Valley County Detention Facility awaiting sentencing on a deliberate homicide charge for the New Year’s Eve murder in 2016.

Witkowski was also ordered to pay roughly $11,000 to Valley County to pay for damage to the jail during his escape attempt. Witkowski and the other inmate who tried to escape tipped over a fridge and dented an industrial-size sink in the jail’s kitchen, according to Valley County Attorney Dylan Jensen.

Witkowski’s co-defendant in the escape attempt has also been charged and will be held responsible for a portion of the $11,000 owed to the county.

In the murder case, Witkowski stabbed 31-year-old Evelynn Garcia before hitting her with a tire iron and later a car. Garcia's body was found on Jan. 30, 2017, on the side of a road outside Glasgow. She died days later.


Justice Reporter

Justice reporter for the Billings Gazette.