Tuesday, May 30, 2023

20th Judicial District Court News

Reporter | May 25, 2023 12:00 AM

Kutch charged with felony theft of pickup

Raven Cole Kutch was arraigned in Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher’s court on May 11 for one count of felony theft, for property worth more $1,500, and less than $5,000. An omnibus hearing will be held on Sept. 21 and a jury trial was set for Nov. 7.

According to court records, on April 14, Kutch approached and entered a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup parked at K-O Auto Repair in Ronan. He started the vehicle and drove towards St. Ignatius, where he was stopped by law enforcement.

The pickup’s owner didn't know Kutch and didn’t give him permission to use the vehicle. Video from K-O Auto Repair shows the defendant approaching, entering, and driving away from the business in the pickup. Law enforcement, using Kelley Blue Books, valued the pickup at $2,145 to $4,616.

Gardipe receives plea agreement

Charlie Justine Marie Gardipe, 33, was supposed to appear in Judge Christopher’s court on May 11, but didn’t. A warrant was issued for her arrest, she was located and appeared May 18.

Under a plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to one count of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one count of felony bail jumping. At sentencing, the other two counts of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs will be dismissed.

After the change of plea, Gardipe was released on her own recognizance. Both the state and the defense would like the sentence to be deferred for three years.

Gardipe’s case began on Oct. 2, 2020, when a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy had a car stopped and his light flashing when Gardipe drove by without slowing down or moving over as required by law. The deputy stopped Gardipe and noticed she had warrants out for her arrest. Another deputy noticed drug paraphernalia in the backseat of the vehicle on the floor.

After being granted a search warrant, the deputies found a pink makeup bag in a backpack she identified as hers. The bag contained a loaded syringe and a piece of foil with a dark tarry substance on it. The tin foil was sent to the Montana State Crime Lab, which identified the substance as heroin.

On Aug. 9, 2021, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper made a traffic stop in St. Ignatius. Gardipe was a passenger in the vehicle and had an active warrant out for her arrest. The driver consented to the search, and in a black backpack, which Gardipe verified was hers, there were various pieces of drug paraphernalia and a piece of tin foil with a tarry substance on it. Again the foil was sent to the crime lab and identified as heroin.

On Sept. 5, 2021, Gardipe was booked into the CSKT jail and during the search, a baggie with a white crystalline substance was found in her backpack. The white crystals were identified by the crime lab as methamphetamine.

Nader misses omnibus hearing

While Cirdan Zachorius Nader was not present in Judge Christopher’s Court on May 11 for an omnibus hearing, his attorney Justin Kalmbach was on hand, but had no information for the court, according to records. There is an active warrant out for Nader’s arrest.

His case stems from a traffic stop Dec. 15, 2018, because his vehicle had temporary expired plates. Law enforcement officers determined Nader had several outstanding warrants on him.

A subsequent search of Nader revealed he had several pills in his pocket, which he identified as Lortabs and Ritalin. The officers also saw a methamphetamine pipe in plain view. When a K-9 Unit indicated that he sniffed drugs, officers applied for and received a search warrant.

In Nader’s vehicle, officers located three plastic methamphetamine pies, one glass methamphetamine pipe, ten pieces of tin foil with heroin residue on them, a plastic baggie with methamphetamine inside, a digital scale, and baggies. The baggie and the tin foil piece with residue tested positive for methamphetamine and heroin at the Montana State Crime Lab.

Through several years of attorney changes, three omnibus hearings and jury trial dates, the case has stretched out. On March 30, after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Nader asked through his attorney to be released on his own recognizance so he could attend outpatient treatment at the Recovery center of Montana. The omnibus hearing for that request was May 11.

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