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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Montana

For Immediate Release

December 5, 2011

Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney

Contact: Jessica T. Fehr, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana
(406) 247- 4637

Leroy Jesse Houle Sentenced in U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on December 5, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, LEROY JESSE HOULE, a 36-year-old resident of Great Falls, appeared for sentencing. HOULE was sentenced to a term of:

  • Prison: 120 months
  • Special Assessment: $100
  • Restitution: $2,000
  • Supervised Release: 3 years

HOULE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to being a felon-inpossession of a firearm.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kory Larsen, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following: Between 1996 and 2008, HOULE had been convicted of numerous felonies and was thereby prohibited from possessing firearms.

On March 15, 2011, around 6:30 a.m., Great Falls Police officers were dispatched to a Great Falls residence for a reported burglary.

The homeowner said at about 6:00 a.m., he woke up and walked into his basement office. The office has a lockable door leading out to their garage. He noticed several items in the office were misplaced and that the door leading to the garage was slightly ajar with a key still in the lock. After confirming with his wife that she had closed and locked the door to the garage and not disturbed the office when she had returned from work at approximately 12:30 a.m., he armed himself with his .357 revolver and went back downstairs to check and see if anyone was still in the residence. As he went out into the garage, his blue Chevrolet pickup truck was being driven out of the garage and then turned west on a street which ends in a cul-de-sac. When the pickup truck turned around in the cul-de-sac, the homeowner pointed his firearm at the driver and yelled for him to stop. The driver did not stop and the homeowner observed his pickup truck turn onto another street where he lost sight of it.

The homeowner took inventory of all the property taken and estimated that approximately $14,065 worth of property was taken. He also advised the officers that the key ring which was in the ignition to his blue pickup contained a key to his residence.

Included in the missing property was a .22 caliber Marlin rifle.

As the officers were leaving, they were dispatched to an address where the homeowners' blue pickup was found. On scene, an officer verified that some of the items the homeowner had reported stolen were found in the pickup truck.

A witness who had called in the location of the pickup truck said he saw a male in a dark hooded jacket unloading bags from the back of the pickup truck into a white Cadillac with dark tinted windows. The witness said he was unsure of the vehicle year but he was a "car guy" and knew it was a Cadillac SLS. He said he attempted to contact the man outside his residence, but the guy got in the car and fled. The witness said he thought this was suspicious and so he had called 911.

Shortly after, an officer found the suspect vehicle, a 1995 white Cadillac 4 door SLS with a 40-day temporary registration sticker, going eastbound on Smelter Avenue. The Cadillac, driven by HOULE (later identified through his tribal ID), fled from the officer at high speed through residential streets. The officer was forced to stop the pursuit due to the danger to other drivers based on the speed of the Cadillac.

A short time later, officers found HOULE and watched as he fled from the Cadillac and enter a storage unit on foot. HOULE then locked himself inside. It was learned that the storage unit belonged to another individual and that HOULE did not have permission to enter. HOULE was arrested with the assistance of a K-9 unit.

When questioned, HOULE stated he had contacted an unidentified second person to do a job on the residence. This unidentified person entered the garage and took the items therein then stole the blue pickup. HOULE was then going to drive to an unidentified small town on the Canadian border in order to sell the stolen property. When pressed, HOULE refused to provide details about his unidentified accomplice.

A search of HOULE’s car revealed the stolen .22 caliber Marlin rifle in the back seat in amongst the other stolen property. The rifle was in a hard side plastic rifle case. Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HOULE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HOULE does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Great Falls Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.