Police and prosecutors never did believe Joshua Edward Gray when he said an ex-girlfriend started strangling herself with both hands and crashed her car into a Butte house in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
On Thursday, he admitted to choking her and pleaded guilty to felony strangulation of a partner or family member. District Judge Kurt Krueger ordered a presentence investigation and will set a sentencing date once it is completed.
Gray, 30, could be sentenced up to five years in prison and fined up to $50,000.
According to the victim, the two were in a vehicle around 3:40 a.m. on this past New Year’s Day when it crashed into a front porch on Minah Street and slid down the road. They initially told police they had slid into the house.
But the woman then told officers that while she was driving, they got into an argument and Gray grabbed her by the neck. She said she lost consciousness and crashed into the house, and she had fresh bright red marks on her neck.
“Gray stated that they got into an argument and (the woman) began strangling herself,” prosecutors said in a charging document. “Gray stated that she used both hands and then crashed into the house.”
Authorities didn’t buy it and booked him into jail that day. He has been there since and will remain behind bars pending sentencing unless he can post $25,000 bail.
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Woman sentenced for bilking St. James
Judge Krueger gave a Clancy woman a six-year deferred sentence Thursday for arranging continued pay from St. James Healthcare for eight weeks after she quit working there.
Brandi Salemme, 35, had previously pleaded guilty to theft but can have the conviction erased from her record if she abides by all terms of her probation. She owes $6,628 in restitution and has started paying it, said her public defender, Walter Hennessey.
“She does have the ability to continue to pay,” he told the judge.
According to prosecutors, Express Employment Professionals had arranged temporary employment for Salemme at St. James starting in July 2015. Her last legitimate paycheck for work there was on Aug. 30, 2015, but she had time cards submitted for another eight weeks.
The initial investigation took a long time and police got additional information along the way, so the felony charge wasn’t filed until late 2017.