NewsCrime Watch


Man pleads not guilty to sexually assaulting girl at Billings Walmart

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Posted at 10:53 AM, Jan 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-13 12:53:18-05

A 39-year-old Billings man pleaded not guilty Friday in Yellowstone County District Court to luring a 14-year-old girl into his vehicle in a Billings Walmart and sexually assaulting her.

Tyson Lee Garza made his first appearance in court by video conference for the incident that prosecutors say occurred Dec. 30 at the Walmart on the West End.

Judge Ashley Harada set his bond for $150,000. His next court appearance is March 6.

In what one prosecutor described as a "violent and brazen attack," Garza allegedly encountered the girl while walking out of the Walmart, then convinced her to come to his vehicle by lying that he knew her grandfather.

He allegedly sexually assaulted her inside the vehicle, and she escaped by when he tried to hide in his seat from a worker passing by outside, according to prosecutors.

Garza was identified by surveillance video matching the girl's description, coupled with records of a transaction he made inside the store obtained by search warrant.

As condition of release, Garza must wear a GPS monitor and cannot have contact with children or the victim.

Harada also ordered visits with his five children, all age 14 and under, must be supervised by another adult.

He must also stay away marijuana, drugs and alcohol and places where they are served. Garza works at a marijuana dispensary, and Harada said he needs to find another job in a different industry.