The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Witkowski Faces Sentencing


October 4, 2017

A.J. Etherington /The Courier

Jay Witkowski (center) appeared for sentencing at the Valley County Courthouse with lawyer Terry Toavs (right) on Oct. 2. Also pictured: VCSO Deputy Casey Mulkey (l).

Jay Witkowski, who was convicted of murdering Evelynn Garcia (31) on New Years Eve of 2016, was sentenced Monday by the 17th District Court in Glasgow to 80 years in Prison with the possibility of parole in 20 years.

Witkowski had arranged a plea agreement in which he was to receive 70 years for the December 31 murder and ten consecutive years for the use of a dangerous weapon. In order to qualify for parole Witkowski will need to complete his sentencing requirements. Those requirements stipulate that he must complete chemical dependency and other rehabilitative classes. Witkowski was also ordered to pay restitution in the sums of $37,047.75 to Montana Medicaid, $8,500 to be paid to the father of the victim, and a ten percent administrative court fee.

During Monday's proceedings, the State laid out the case built against Witkowski for the Court. Evidence and testimony explained the details of Witkowski's crimes.

Amongst those to testify were Valley County Undersherrif Luke Strommen, who laid out the events on the evening of the murder, and the corresponding details of the crime. He provided evidence showing Witkowski's story involving a carjacking did not line up with the facts, nor could it be corroborated by physical evidence.

For instance Witkowski never called 911 following the attack, but instead called the owner of the car he was driving only moments after the murder occurred. Strommen testified that Burlington Northern Santa Fe video of the train crossing where Witkowski alleged they had been attacked showed no other vehicles at the scene. Strommen also commented that he had consulted Sheriff Vernon Buerkle about the frequency of carjacking cases in Valley County, to which Buerkle replied he had never encountered a carjacking in his more than 20 years of service to the county.

Strommen also stated that he was unable to testify to what Witkowski's behavior on Dec. 31, 2016, may have indicated, because Witkowski had not been acting in a manner Strommen had ever encountered in his law enforcement experience.


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