A stolen handgun used in the October 2014 murder of a Billings man was the personal weapon of federal Bureau of Indian Affairs special agent who had left it in his service vehicle, an agency spokeswoman said.
The gun, a 9mm Glock Model 17, was identified during a murder trial last month in Billings by a police officer as having been used in the Oct. 2, 2014, death of David Vallie. Vallie was found dead from a gunshot to his abdomen outside a downtown apartment complex.
A jury convicted Jonathan Michael Martinez, 29, on Dec. 18 of deliberate homicide in Vallie's death.
Nedra Darling, a BIA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., said on Thursday that it is “not protocol” to leave a personally owned weapon in a service vehicle. “Corrective action has taken place,” she said.
The agent reported the theft to his immediate supervisor and to local law enforcement, she said.
The Billings Police officer testified he recovered the gun from a hit-and-run crash the day after Vallie’s death. A serial number check determined it belonged to BIA Special Agent John Dodd. The vehicle in the crash was linked to Martinez after a woman told law enforcement he had taken her vehicle, court records said.
Dodd, the police officer continued, said the weapon was stolen in June 2014 from his unmarked service vehicle. An analysis by the Montana Crime Lab determined the gun was used to kill Vallie.
Darling said the agency doesn’t generally publicize where law enforcement employees are located.
Dodd, however, responded to a call of an assault last October in Lame Deer on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. When Dodd arrived at the residence, prosecutors said he was assaulted as he attempted to arrest a suspect. The suspect, Dean James Small, has been charged in federal court with assault on a federal officer.