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Elijah Eldin Bonner

Elijah Eldin Bonner

A Billings man has admitted charges in a rape case.

Elijah Eldon Bonner pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual intercourse without consent in a hearing in Yellowstone County District Court on Friday. The case had been set for trial this week.

Under a plea deal, Bonner agreed to admit the two charges.

Prosecutors originally charged Bonner with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and one count of sexual abuse of children, which stemmed from accusations that Bonner possessed sexually explicit photos of the teen. 

Bonner admitted to two sexual incidents with a girl while she was 14 and later 15. Under his admission, she was incapable of consent due to her age. The age of consent in Montana is 16.

Bonner was 19 years old in August 2018, when he was charged.

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Courts and crime reporter Phoebe Tollefson's top 5 stories from 2019

Gazette crime and courts reporter Phoebe Tollefson shares her five most memorable stories of 2019.

Below are five meaningful crime and courts stories from 2019.

Two friends who opened a women’s sober living home in April gave us one of our rare but welcome “good” news stories.

Prison no doubt left its mark on Jimmy Ray Bromgard, who was wrongly incarcerated for nearly 15 years. Still, he finds a way to laugh often, at least when this reporter was in town.

After nearly 21 years, a victim's family got its day in court in one of the area’s most well-known cold cases, and a packed gallery heard the remarkable story of a woman who fought through and survived an attack by Zachary O’Neill roughly two months before.

The family of a man who died after a series of seizures inside the Cascade County Detention Center was paid $1 million in a wrongful death claim, settled outside of court.

Finally, we heard from some landlords whose tenants check boxes on the FBI’s criteria for commercial sex operations. The goal of the reporting was to let landlords respond to concerns by law enforcement and activists that the rent-paying businesses exploit vulnerable workers. 

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