The homeless man accused of trying to dispose of evidence in a homicide investigation in Butte on Thursday received a five-year sentence with the Montana Department of Corrections.
David Newbold, 20, could avoid prison if he successfully completes chemical dependency treatment and a “boot camp” program. Newbold pleaded guilty last September in Butte district court to felony tampering with physical evidence.
Newbold was arrested along with another man in the Oct. 12, 2011, beating death of 32-year-old Teddy James Hildebrant of Anaconda. Hildebrant was beaten near a “transient camp” in a field north the Butte Civic Center ball fields.
During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Kurt Krueger sentenced Newbold to 10 years with the Department of Corrections with five years suspended.
Krueger said he decided to follow the recommendation in the plea agreement, because Newbold appears to have taken responsiblility for his actions and is remorseful.
“This is an opportunity to change your life,” the judge told Newbold during his sentencing.
Newbold told the court that he feels terrible about what happened to the
“Everyday I live with the fact that I could have done something different and changed the outcome of the situation,” Newbold said.
Newbold was with another homeless man, Shane Hans, the day Hildebrant was killed. Hans, 36, beat Hildebrant — who was not homeless — after he found him sleeping under a tarp at the transient camp. Newbold helped Hans hide bloody clothing from the crime scene.
Hans was sentenced in May to 40 years for felony mitigated deliberate homicide in Hildebrant’s death.
Newbold’s attorney, Wade Zolynski, pointed out during Thursday’s hearing that his client had a difficult childhood with almost no parental supervision. Zolynski noted that Newbold also started abusing alcohol and marijuana at age 14.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Samm Cox supported a lenient sentence for Newbold saying the young man has accepted his part in the crime and is truly sorry. With proper treatment, Cox said Newbold could change his ways and lead a productive life.
“Hopefully something good can come out of this tragedy,” Cox said.
— Reporter John Grant Emeigh may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 496-5511. Follow him at Twitter.com/@johnemeigh.