Judge orders resentencing for man convicted of 2003 murder on Crow Reservation in Montana

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 18:31:46-04

BILLINGS – A federal judge has ordered new sentencing for a man convicted of a 2003 murder on the Crow Reservation, ruling his use of a gun did not meet a specific federal definition of a violent crime.

Quinton Birdinground Jr. will get a new sentencing hearing at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 23 for the shooting death of Emerson Pickett, according to a June ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Watters. 

In 2004, Birdinground was convicted of one count of second-degree murder of Pickett, one count of assault resulting in bodily injury of a woman and one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence. He was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison. 

Watters most recent ruling focused on the gun charge and the phrase "crime of violence," a specific term in federal law used to enhance sentences. Citing previous case law, she ruled that Birdinground’s level of intent did not clearly meet the threshold and vacated the firearm charge.

Watters will resentence on the murder and assault charges. 

Federal defender David Ness told The Associated Press he is planning to ask for a sentence of time served for the remaining two charges, resulting in Birdinground’s release from prison.