GREAT FALLS — A federal jury has convicted a 21-year-old Montana man of voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of an interloper at a wedding party.
William Arocha Jr. was charged with second-degree murder in the July 5, 2017 death of 35-year-old Shane LaPlant in East Glacier, but jurors on Wednesday convicted him of the lesser charge. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.
Investigators say LaPlant arrived uninvited at Arocha's father's wedding party, stole alcohol and fought with Arocha and his family. Prosecutors say Arocha stabbed LaPlant in the side and later stabbed him two dozen times. Arocha claimed he acted in self-defense.
Arocha was earlier convicted of assault and negligent endangerment in Blackfeet Tribal Court. He was sentenced to jail time and was ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution to LaPlant's family.