Fort Belknap chair testifies at sentencing hearing

Julia Doney, the chairwoman of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana, testified on Friday in the sentencing hearing of a tribal member who killed a deputy sheriff who was also a tribal member.

Laurence D. Jackson Jr, 28, has been convicted of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide for the death of Blaine County deputy sheriff Joshua Rutherford, who was 28 when he was killed. Jackson faces the death penalty for his crimes.

Doney is related to Jackson. She apologized in court to Rutherford's family, saying she didn't do enough to help "not doing more to help" Jackson, who had trouble with the law, had alcoholic parents and was abused by his stepfather, according to testimony.

Rutherford's family gave their own statements last Tuesday. They said they are still angry over the death of Rutherford on May 29, 2003. They said Jackson is blaming his crimes on fetal alcohol syndrome and other problems.

The hearing is being held for the deliberate homicide conviction. The judge will hold a separate hearing for the attempted deliberate homicide conviction.

Get the Story:
Tribal chairman voices compassion (The Great Falls Tribune 12/3)
Expert says killer can't tell right from wrong (The Great Falls Tribune 12/3)
Psychologist tells of grim childhood (The Great Falls Tribune 12/2)
Emotions erupt as family tears into cop killer (The Great Falls Tribune 12/1)

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