(MTN News-BOZEMAN) Former fugitive and convicted felon Kevin Briggs was sentenced in Bozeman on Tuesday, nearly two years since his escape from the Law and Justice Center.
Briggs, 30 years old, was sentenced for five counts: aggravated assault, assault on a peace officer, escape, sexual assault and possession of a dangerous drugs.
Briggs walked out of the Law and Justice center while in police custody on February 1, 2013; he was shackled at the time.
He was recaptured several weeks later in Oregon.
Briggs’ parents were the only people to testify during today’s hearing, asking the judge for leniency.
The state asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence and put restrictions on parole to protect the victim.
The judge agreed, calling Briggs a manipulator, and then sentencing Briggs to 35 years in prison, adding that Briggs will not be eligible for parole for 20 years.
“It’s good, I really do think that the victim in this case will sleep better, will have some more peace of mind knowing that it’ll be at least 20 years before he has parole eligibility and I think that will go a long way to helping her put all of this behind her,” said Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert.
Briggs next stop may not be the state prison in Deer Lodge. He has a case pending in Helena.
(March 3, 2014) The Bozeman Police Department has released a report on the investigation into the escape of Kevin Briggs from police custody on February 1st.
Briggs had been taken into custody after a woman he knew called 911 saying that Briggs drugged and tried to rape her. Not long after authorities detained him, he escaped from the Law & Justice Center.
The report says an officer who was responsible for watching Briggs propped a chair against the door of the room where Briggs was kept, then left the area.
Briggs was left unattended for 31 minutes; during that time Briggs first asked for an officer, then checked the door handle, and eventually left the room and then walked out of the the Law & Justice Center — all while shackled.
Court documents state that Briggs then somehow got a ride to Missoula and was dropped off at the Greyhound bus station, where he eventually caught a bus to Spokane.
Briggs was finally captured in Portland, Oregon, on February 21st.
The report says two officers failed to adequately perform their duties.
The first was the Day Shift Officer who stopped watching Briggs because he thought that Briggs was going to be taken to the Detention Center. However, this officer failed to confirm this with other officers and failed to make sure someone was watching the prisoner.
The other officer found to be accountable was the Day Shift Acting Supervisor who failed to investigate a report by a civilian employee that Briggs had been left unattended.
The two officers involved are Tracy Senenfelder and Lucan Chaffins; both were suspended for two weeks without pay.