A Butte man who has repeatedly violated sentencing terms for negligent homicide in a 2013 car crash was recently arrested for assault in Dillon and is now jailed in Butte with recommendations his suspended sentence be revoked.
Cody John Richards, 24, was in Dillon without permission on Sept. 2, chose to drink and assaulted two people, according to a probation officer. A warrant for his arrest in Butte was later issued and he was picked up from Beaverhead County last week.
He was booked into the Butte jail on Thursday with bond set at $50,000 and he remained there Tuesday.
Richards pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in 2015, violated terms of two deferred sentences, had that revoked in 2018, was then sentenced to the Montana Department of Corrections for six years with five suspended, and has now violated its terms, his probation officer says.
The officer recommended in a Sept. 9 report to District Judge Kurt Krueger that Richards now be placed in a “secure institution/facility where he can be assessed for proper placement.”
“The Defendant Cody Richards does not understand there are consequences for his actions,” the officer wrote in the report. “His needs maybe best addressed within the confines of the Montana State Prison while he is being assessed.”
Based on the report, prosecutors requested the arrest warrant that was served last week.
Walter Hennessey, a public defender who has been appointed to represent Richards, declined comment Tuesday.
Richards first received a six-year deferred sentence in July 2015 after pleading guilty to negligent homicide in a 2013 Halloween crash that killed his best friend, 19-year-old “K.P.” Kiel Podgorski.
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Podgorski was thrown from a Dodge Durango driven by Richards after it careened down a steep embankment off Moose Creek Road. Richards, who was 19 at the time, and two other men were treated for injuries and released.
Defense attorney Gregory Jackson told the court that Richards had been drinking heavily the night before and as a result had an elevated blood alcohol level near the legal limit when the crash occurred.
Richards failed terms of his first deferred sentence by not completing WATCH, a state Department of Corrections DUI treatment program. He had also tested positive for methamphetamine.
He failed terms of a second deferred sentence by drinking alcohol, testing positive for cocaine and getting arrested for DUI in Jefferson County. Then he was arrested May 1, 2018 after testing positive for cocaine and failing to report to a 24-7 monitoring program.
According to the probation report, he returned to Butte on conditional release status and had a violation for drinking alcohol on Feb. 2, 2019. He completed a state program after that and was assigned to the Castle Program in Anaconda, where he could only be away for groups or work.
But he went to Beaverhead County without permission, drank alcohol and assaulted two people, the report said. His adjustment to supervision, the probation officer said, was “deplorable.”
“This is the third time he has shown complete disregard for the opportunity he has been given by the Court to remain in the community under supervision,” he said in the report.
During his last sentencing hearing in May 2018, prosecutor Mike Clague said the mother of Podgorski — the man killed in the 2013 car crash — felt victimized every time Richards makes the newspaper for violating sentencing terms. But, he said, “She wants him to get help.”