BILLINGS- A man convicted of a 2003 murder on the Crow Reservation was released from federal prison Thursday with a sentence reduced to time served.
Quinton Birdinground, 38, served 15 years for the murder of his uncle, Emerson Pickett, but was granted a new sentencing hearing in June by U.S. District Court Susan Watters.
Watters had ruled that Birdinground’s level of intent did not meet a specific legal threshold of “crime of violence,” which triggers a harsher sentence. She vacated one charge related to firearm use and resentenced to 14 years for second-degree murder and the assault of a woman, his girlfriend.
In a court filing, defense attorney David Ness described the incident as a “crime of passion” and noted the 23-year-old Birdinground did not have a lengthy criminal history.
Birdinground had entered a room and found Pickett with his girlfriend, who had broken up with him the previous day, and pulled out a gun and fired, according to Ness. The bullet had gone through the woman’s hand and struck and killed Pickett.
While in prison, Birdinground also earned an associate’s degree in business, according to Ness.