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Montana man sentenced to 100 years after double killing

by Associated Press
| October 14, 2020 12:00 AM

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A 29-year-old Montana man was sentenced to 100 years in prison in the killing of two people during an armed, drug-related confrontation in 2018.

Jonathan Reed Whitworth did not provide a statement when he was sentenced Tuesday in Missoula County District Court.

Whitworth elected not to bring the case to trial and pleaded guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide in August for the shooting deaths of Jason Flink, 23, and Megan McLaughlin, 31. Whitworth also pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon for shooting Kaleb Williams, who lived but suffered severe knife wounds.

Whitworth's co-defendant, 19-year-old Preston Rossbach, was convicted by a jury in March, the Missoulian reported.

Whitworth and Rossbach broke into a motel room angered that they had been sold some "bad drugs" by their dealer, prosecutors said. The dealer wasn't there and they briefly left, but returned to the room and shot all three people inside shortly afterward, prosecutors said. Rossbach stabbed the victims, prosecutors said.

Rossbach was sentenced this month to 60 years in prison.

Whitworth told investigators that he had been using methamphetamine for nine straight days and hadn't slept in the lead-up to the killings.

"This is a tragic event for everybody," Thomas Schoenleben, Whitworth's defense attorney, said during the Tuesday hearing. "Mr. Whitworth was set up for failure from a very young age. He was brought up in a family that essentially set him up to be an offender, and now he's paying the price."

Rossbach is facing additional charges after allegedly threatening witnesses who testified against him at trial. Whitworth has been separately charged with assaulting another inmate while he was incarcerated awaiting the finalization of his case.