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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
For Immediate Release
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
Thursday, January 19, 2023

Armed Robbery of Butte Motel Sends Man to Prison for Seven Years

MISSOULA — A Butte man who admitted to brandishing a shotgun while robbing a motel in Butte was sentenced today to seven years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Luther Norman Whaley, 60, pleaded guilty in September 2022 to brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that on Nov. 2, 2021, at the America’s Best Value Inn in Butte, Whaley brandished a shotgun at the clerk and demanded money. The clerk placed approximately $3,000 in a black duffle bag that Whaley provided. Whaley fled but was quickly arrested. Law enforcement recovered a shotgun and a black bag with cash. Whaley then told law enforcement, “Yeah, it’s me.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Butte Police Department.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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