A Billings man suspected of shooting his father over a drug debt will go to federal prison for three years for his role in a methamphetamine conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Wednesday sentenced Brandon Jay Joseph White, 24, to three years. That was what White’s defense requested so White can qualify for substance abuse treatment while serving his term.

The sentence also reflects credit Watters gave White for having already served 396 days in custody for crimes related to the conspiracy. White faced a sentencing range of 46 to 57 months.

White apologized to his family and the community. “There is no excuse for the choices I’ve made in my life,” he said.

White also said that while in custody, he earned the equivalent of his high school diploma and was “on the right path.”

White’s father, Walter White, 53, was sentenced in May to 12 years in federal prison on drug and firearms charges for trafficking at least 500 grams, or more than a pound, of meth.

In January 2013, the father and son got into a gunfight outside of Walter White’s business in Lockwood in an apparent argument over a $10,000 drug debt. Brandon White initially was charged in state court with assault for shooting his father in the back, but those charges were dismissed because of the federal prosecution.

Walter White was a ringleader in a meth conspiracy in which he trafficked the drug and had several suppliers from January 2012 until about mid-March 2013.

White pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute meth and admitted being responsible for between 50 grams and 200 grams of the drug. White told investigators he distributed meth for his father until they had “a falling out,” the prosecutor said.

The judge noted that White had a “long and severe” history of substance abuse. White, she said, started using marijuana at age 10, began using meth at 14 and was smoking meth daily by the time he was 18. He also has used heroin, abused prescription drugs and drank alcohol daily during the time of the conspiracy, she said.

In addition, the judge said, White had a difficult upbringing and no role models.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.