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20th Judicial District Court News

Reporter | September 14, 2023 12:00 AM

Gardipe trial date set for tampering, intimidation charges

Junior Gardipe, 35, of Big Arm, was found not guilty of two counts of felony assault with a weapon and robbery in a jury trial in District Court in Polson from July 31 through Aug. 1. A star witness in the case changed her version of what happened, and she and another witness did not appear in Judge Molly Owen’s court during the trial.

Now Gardipe will be tried for one count of felony tampering with witnesses or informants and one count of felony intimidation.

According to court records, Gardipe, his sister, and the star witness were all incarcerated in the Lake County Jail at the same time. Through the inmates communication system, Gardipe allegedly had his sister, Charlie Justine Marie Gardipe, threaten the witness that another female inmate would “beat her up” unless she changed her story about what happened.

Charlie Gardipe was also charged with felony tampering and intimidation.

Judge Kadee Snipes-Ruiz of the 12th District Court (Hill and Liberty Counties) will substitute for Judge Owen on the tampering and intimidation charges. A trial date of Feb. 5, 2024, was set, and his bail for those two charges is $200,000.

Before his trial, Gardipe also will be appearing in court on another charge – felony assault with a weapon and intimidation for allegedly threatening a person with a hatchet on June 16. Judge Owen set a trial date of Dec. 4.

Pierre sentencing set for Sept. 11

Nickalie Chadwick Pierre entered a plea agreement in Justice Deborah “Kim” Christopher’s court on Sept. 7 for one of two cases in District Court.

On April 23, 2020, the management at S & K Storage called dispatch and reported that several storage units had been opened and the continents stolen. Three storage unit renters texted police a list of items missing, and on May 24 Pierre admitted he and his sister took items from the storage units. He was charged with two counts of felony burglary.

After not appearing in court, a warrant was issued for Pierre on April 2, 2021, but it was never served. Sentencing in this case was set for Sept. 11.

In Pierre’s second case, a Tribal Police officer was walking through the KwaTaqNuk Casino and spotted Pierre, who the officer knew had a warrant out on him.

The officer arrested Pierre, and as he searched Pierre he found a ziplock bag full of “gritty residue.” Pierre admitted to the officer that the substance was methamphetamine. He was charged with one felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Judge Christopher set an omnibus hearing for June 22, 2024, with a jury trial date of Aug. 21, 2024.