John Howald, 46, opened fire at the woman’s home in Basin, Montana in March 2020 and set off to shoot others while shouting anti-gay slurs and saying he wanted to “clean” the small community by killing all the gay and lesbian people.
A jury convicted Howald in February of a hate crime and a count that deals with discharging a firearm during a hate crime.
Howald’s attorneys argued in a sentencing memorandum that at the time, Howald had been suffering from emotional trauma, he was very drunk and “he had long struggled with his own sexuality.”
Prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo that Howald had two assault rifles, a hunting rifle, two pistols and high-capacity magazines that had been taped together for faster reloading on the day of the shooting.
“This defendant is being held accountable for his horrific attempted mass shooting against the LGBTQI+ community in a Montana town,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Howald set out to rid the town of all LGBTQI+ members by killing them. He shot into the home of a lesbian resident, nearly killing her, with the hope of inspiring similar attacks around the country. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously defend the rights of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to be free from hate-fueled violence. This Pride Month, we affirm our commitment to using the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act to hold perpetrators of hate-fueled violence targeting the LGBTQI+ community accountable.”
Howald fired 11 shots into the woman’s home and fired five more in the middle of town while arguing with residents who were trying to get him to stop, prosecutors said, and also stated that he wanted to start a “revolution” and inspire other attacks.
Basin is a community of around 200 people in the western part of Montana, a little more than 20 miles southwest of Helena
About an hour into the Bozeman, Montana PRIDE event, as community organizations gathered at Soroptimist Park, a group of about 20 white supremacists showed up and started chanting anti-LGBT+ statements at the crowd. Many of them had their faces covered and held signs with racist and homophobic slogans.
The Bozeman Pride Stroll was interrupted by a group of protesters wearing masks and sunglasses to protect their identities while chanting and carrying signs promoting white supremacy and condemning the LGBTQ+ community.
The group walked up and down Main Street and other side streets while engaging with bystanders who shouted back at them. One bystander who engaged, Joseph Wood, ended up getting assaulted.
Wood said he was walking near the group when one protester handed him a flyer. He continued walking near them and another protester tried blocking his path. They ultimately got into a verbal altercation that escalated into the man hitting Wood in the face with a shield, then another man pepper sprayed him.
We’ve spent more than half a century trying to educate the general public about the fact that we gay people are not the child molesters or insane as we’ve been portrayed as since time immemorial. Now thanks to Republicans we are and in some cases like in Florida we have already lost the ground we have gained.
A federal jury convicted a Montana man of hate and firearms crimes for firing an AK-style assault rifle at the residence of a woman, who identified as lesbian, and was home at the time. After a four-day trial that began on Feb. 14, the jury found John Russell Howald, 46, of Basin, Montana, guilty of hate crime acts and discharge of firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence as charged in a superseding indictment.
“This defendant is being held accountable for attempting to violently eliminate the entire LGBTQ community in a small Montana town,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This hate crime and violent campaign targeting the LGBTQ community is a reminder of the epidemic of hate violence targeting people based on their sexual orientation. All people have the right to feel safe in their homes and communities, regardless of who they love.”
Howald faces a maximum of life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the hate crime conviction and a mandatory minimum 10 years to life imprisonment, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250,00 fine and five years of supervised release on the firearm conviction.
“Howald … pointed a rifle at the deputy and fled on foot, firing at least one more shot as he went. Sheriff’s officers arrested Howald the next day….“
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on Thursday signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, bolstering religious beliefs as a claim or defense in court. Democrats and other opponents have decried the new law, arguing it would empower people to freely discriminate against LGBTQ people with beliefs that they are immune in the courts.
Democratic lawmakers in both chambers who are LGBTQ shared soul-bearing testimony in floor sessions about the message the bill’s passage would send to communities who already suffer discrimination. The legislation spurred opponents to rally outside the Capitol, while more than 250 companies co-signed a letter opposing SB 215.
Religion is a CHOICE. Being gay, not so much.
At this point I’d usually say BOYCOTT MONTANA but c’mon there is really nothing there to boycott.
Today the Montana Supreme Court ruled against six couples petitioning for equal rights benefits allowed for opposite sex couples. Now in the motion filed for the plantiffs weren’t asking for same sex marriage but did feel that they were entiled to those benefits the government allows to straight couples. Here’s more from the (AP):
The Montana Supreme Court on Monday rejected an “overly broad” request that gay couples be guaranteed the same benefits as married couples.
The court wrote in Monday’s 4-3 decision Monday that a lower court was within its discretion when it earlier dismissed the request. But the Supreme Court left the door open for the gay couples to modify their request and try again.
A Helena district court judge dismissed the six couples’ case last year after state prosecutors argued that spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples. A voter-approved amendment in 2004 defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock based his ruling in part on the state’s marriage amendment and also said that an order to force state lawmakers to write new laws would violate the separation of powers.
The majority justices upheld that decision. The court wrote that the gay couples want the court to intervene “without identifying a specific statute or statutes that impose the discrimination they allege.”
James Goetz, the attorney for the couples, said in April arguments before the high court that his clients were not asking to for the right to marry. But they are entitled to make the same decisions about their families’health care and finances as married couples under the Montana Constitution, and the state’s refusal to expressly provide those rights is discriminatory, he said.
Assistant attorney general Mike Black responded that the couples’ demands were overly sweeping and they do not cite the specific laws that would have to be changed.
How can the judge claim that the motion was too vague in description? If the plantiffs were simply asking for those same benfits and had adequate proof of how they qualify then it isn’t vague. It’s prejudive. Making the claim that because of the same sex marriage ban in Montana is also reason for the decision is contradictory because it sets a statute that these loving couples don’t have the same rights. These are what these couples were asking for:
— Inheritance rights, and the ability to make burial decisions and receiveworkers compensation death benefits.
— The right to file joint tax returns, claim spousal tax exemptions or take property tax benefits.
— The right to make health care decisions for a spouse when that person cannot.
— Legal protection in cases of separation and divorce, including children’s custody and support.
To me the ruling of course is discriminatory and dances around in this circular logic that can only be described as one thing:bullshit. Let’s hope that most of these situations can be cleared up when the Supreme Court rules on DOMA and Prop 8 next year. .
…the Missoula Independent and MPD obtained video footage that shows Baken doing a backflip on Higgins Avenue and sustaining the injuries, lacerations to his face, that have been depicted on social media sites, during the landing.
Baken will likely be charged for making a false report, according to police.
The little shit should be foirced to apologize the LGBT community and have to do service at a crisis hotline for this stunt. . How many people in that area will now be disbelieved because of his lie.
Anti-gay activist Pastor Harris Himes who is also an attorney, volunteers for the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund and maintains a blog on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site has been charged with six felonies in Ravalli County Justice Court Wednesday for perpetrating an investment scheme that bilked one man out of his $150,000 inheritance and also put over a dozen homeless people back out on the street after a Hamilton, Montana shelter cut ties with him.
Himes was required to surrender his passport and will next appear in District Court on either Oct. 6 or Oct. 20. He didn’t keep a low profile after leaving the Ravalli County jail, though. Peter Christian of KGVO radio’s “Talkback” show mentioned the charges against Himes on Thursday morning and Himes called in to respond. He told Christian he is an attorney, but knows better than to represent himself. Himes went on to claim that gay and pro-abortion activists may be behind the charges against him and co-defendant James “Jeb” Bryant, another self-proclaimed pastor. Himes further claimed that State Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen may also be behind the charges because of political disagreements they’ve had in the past. Other callers quickly, and forcefully, called him out for making groundless accusations
Believe me Himes if I had that much power I wouldn’t be going after your minor ass.
Now man up, serve the time for doing the crime, and climb off that cross bitch! Jesus needs it back
As if Montana didn’t have a bad enough reputation to start off with now this.
John Abarr announced Wednesday that he will run as a Republican for Montana’s U.S. House seat.
Abarr who ran for state legislator in 2002 lost, and now says he is no longer affiliated with the KKK, though he remains on the group’s mailing list but is running in response to the election of the America’s first black President in effort to “save the white race.” And to “draw attention to the fact that white people are becoming a minority and losing our political power and way of life,”
*Abarr “wrote fliers encouraging the deportation of gay men, lesbians and Jews to create a racially pure ‘Realm of Montana.’” Meanwhile, the Montana Republican party wants to “keep homosexual acts illegal.”
*Abarr claimed that “AIDS is airborne” and that you can get HIV simply by attending a Pride rally. Montana Representative Janna Taylor recently made up a story about prison inmates transmitting AIDS by means of blowdarts.
*Abarr said KKK is “not any different than the NAACP” and expressed his wish for an “all-white society.” Meanwhile, Republican Representative James Knox recently pushed a bill that would have stripped US citizenship from the children of immigrants and Native Americans
Seems like a perfect fit for the Montana GOP doesn’t he?
But here’s the truly BIZARRE thing….
Abarr is running on a platform of legalizing marijuana, increasing mental health programs, keeping abortion legal and abolishing the death penalty
The Montana Republican Party. those who are responsible for a numerous number of livestocks loss of virginity, refuses to remove a call to “keep homosexual acts illegal”, which falls under the “Crime” section of their party platform. The funny thing is that homosexual acts ARE NOT illegal in Montana since Montana’s own state Supreme Court struck down a ban on gay sex six years before SCOTUS IN 1997
You may remember that back in June the Texas GOP called for the recriminalization of sodomy and for making it a felony to perform a same-sex marriage.
What a bunch of Neanderthal assholes. They probably think that Liza and Cher are “homosexual acts” also.
Now that ousted Montana Tea Party leaderTim Ravndal, who was fired over a Facebook conversation that appeared to make light of killing gay people, is back from hunting on Crazy Mountain (No, really) wants his job back. He is also spreading so much idiotic talk to defend his condoning of homophobic violence if what he says is true and he REALLY IS that stupid he shouldn’t be allowed to run a flea circus let alone a political party. Even one as moronic as the Tea Party.
Ravndal still claims that he was unaware that hanging “fruits” was a reference to killing gays, but NOW adds that instead he thought that “hang” meant to”display” described a political communications strategy.
“I thought he was using his derogatory adjectives of the gay and lesbian community. A display could mean many things. Are we talking about poster signs, are we talking about a book?” Ravndal said.
And as for his response to the comment: “@Dennis, Where can I get that Wyoming printed instruction manual?” Ravndal said he thought there was “an actual printed manual about displaying the facts in this issue.”
The Montana Human Rights Network responds:
“Mr. Ravndal is insulting the intelligence of Montanans that care about human dignity and safety. The comment from Dennis Scranton was clearly about hurting gay people,” said spokeswoman Kim Abbott. “I think that people that care about the safety of all of their community members need to decide on whether they believe Mr. Ravndal when he says he doesn’t know what that meant.”
The Big Sky Tea Party Association board is expected to vote next week on whether or not to reinstate Ravndal’s membership
Well I don;t buy his crap for a second. And if the Montana Big Sky Tea Party reinstates him it proves the case that the Tea Party is nothing more than idiots leading other idiot
Oh and by the way. The Montana Big Sky Tea Party Association is backing a rally next week opposing Helena’s proposed sex education program that includes teaching tolerance about gay love, an event Ravndal helped organize.