Robert Wesley LaFountain

Man guilty of beating, strangling partner, jury says

A man convicted by a federal jury of assaulting and strangling his partner will spend three years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Wednesday sentenced Robert Wesley LaFountain, 44, for his convictions at an August trial. The guideline range was 33 months to 41 months.

Watters said LaFountain had caused the victim serious injury.

A jury found LaFountain guilty of misdemeanor assault by striking or beating and of assault by strangulation, a felony.

LaFountain had no comment at sentencing.

Prosecutor Tom Godfrey recommended a 40-month term, saying LaFountain repeatedly assaulted the victim, who he was dating, over a period of hours and would not take her to get medical care despite saying he would.

Assistant Federal Defender Steve Babcock sought a two-year sentence, saying LaFountain had no criminal record and denied the charges.

The government accused LaFountain of assaulting the victim near Lodge Grass on Oct. 29, 2016, and forcing her to leave the Crow Reservation during the assault. LaFountain assaulted the victim after a confrontation over a text message he found on her phone, prosecutors said.

LaFountain denied the charges and testified that the pair had argued and that he punched the victim after she hit him. He also said the victim had been drinking but that he had not. LaFountain also denied strangling the victim.

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Locations

Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.