2 sentenced for walking away from pre-release centers

2014-05-01T11:30:00Z 2014-05-02T00:43:10Z 2 sentenced for walking away from pre-release centersGazette Staff The Billings Gazette
May 01, 2014 11:30 am  • 

A man and woman were sentenced on Thursday for walking away from Montana pre-release centers in separate incidents in 2012.

District Judge Mary Jane Knisely sentenced Waylon Bearground, 22, to two years in the custody of the Montana Department of Corrections for felony escape, to run consecutively to any other sentence he’s already serving.

Bearground was sentenced to 60 months with the DOC in 2011 for criminal endangerment. He walked away from the Alpha House center in Billings on April 11, 2012, and was captured by law enforcement about a month later.

He said on Thursday that he left because he was homesick and wanted to see his family and then apologized.

The sentence came as part of a plea deal that called for a three-year consecutive DOC sentence. In addition to shortening the sentence to 24 months, Knisely also recommended that Bearground enter an alcohol addiction treatment program.

Also on Thursday, Knisely sentenced Julie Ann Balback, 48, to a three-year consecutive sentence to the Montana Women’s Prison in addition to any time she’s already serving.

She is serving a sentence for felony drug and forgery charges out of Yellowstone County, as well as theft out of Silver Bow County.

Balback walked away from a Butte pre-release program in August 2012. Authorities arrested her the next month in Richland, Washington.

Before sentencing, she apologized and said she knew leaving was wrong. Her additional three-year sentence was recommended in a plea deal.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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