Billings man sentenced to 50 years for friend's murder

2013-04-30T17:04:00Z 2013-05-01T16:11:11Z Billings man sentenced to 50 years for friend's murderBy GREG TUTTLE gtuttle@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A man whose supporters described him Tuesday as "kind and compassionate" was sentenced to 50 years at Montana State Prison for gunning down his friend and dumping the body in an alley.

Jeffery Todd Guy was sentenced by District Judge G. Todd Baugh to 40 years in prison for the mitigated deliberate homicide of Scott "Frog" Maxson.

Baugh followed a "joint and binding" sentencing recommendation from the prosecution and Guy's defense attorney, which included an additional 10 years for the use of a firearm.

The judge also ordered Guy to serve concurrent 10-year sentences for two counts of felony tampering.

The sentence came at the end of a 50-minute hearing that included emotional testimony from Maxson's mother and others.

Guy spoke briefly, turning in his chair to face Maxson's family and friends in the courtroom and offer his condolences. He also spoke to the prosecutors, Rod Souza and David Carter, and his own family and supporters. 

Guy, who claimed he shot Maxson in self-defense before agreeing at his trial to plead no contest to a reduced murder charge, told the prosecutors he prayed they "see the light one day."  

Maxson, 44, was killed in Guy's house on Broadwater Avenue on March 20, 2011. Prosecutors said Guy shot Maxson as many as 13 times with a .45-caliber semiautomatic.

Guy and Maxson were longtime friends, although they had not seen each other for some time before the shooting. Guy said Maxson showed up drunk at his house late at night, and a confrontation broke out over Guy's past involvement as a drug informant.

After the shooting, Guy dragged Maxson's body into the alley behind his house and spent several hours cleaning the scene before calling 911 to report he had found the body while taking out the trash.

Guy's report quickly drew suspicion when officers noticed bloodstains and drag marks from Guy's back door.

Guy was initially charged with deliberate homicide and tampering, but he struck a plea deal with the prosecution on the third day of his trial in February. Guy had been free on bond since shortly after his arrest, and he turned himself in at the Yellowstone County jail a few hours after making the conditional admissions.

During the sentencing hearing Tuesday, two witnesses testified on behalf of Maxson, including his mother, Sharon Bonilla. She tearfully described the loss of her son, saying he did not deserve to be "executed" by Guy.

"I cannot imagine what made you so angry to shoot my son that many times," she said.

Jamie Schwartz, a friend of Maxson, described him as "kind, smart, funny," and said he did not deserve such a violent death "when he lived so peacefully."

Three people spoke on Guy's behalf, including Beth Jones, a friend. She said Guy treated her daughter as his own, and described him as "kind, gentle, compassionate."   

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

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