NewsCrime and Courts


Judge sentences three in Helena drug-related home invasion

Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-09 18:52:22-04

HELENA — A federal judge today sentenced a man and two women convicted of robbery and firearms charges stemming from a drug-related home invasion, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Gabriel Elijah Kane Arkinson, 32, of Billings, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release, while Jaime Nicole Milsten, 35, of East Helena, was sentenced to 10 years and five months in prison and five years of supervised release. A jury in October found both defendants guilty of of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting commerce, robbery affecting commerce and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

A third defendant, Melissa Dawn Shurtliff, 28, of Helena, was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison and five years of supervised release. Shurtliff pleaded guilty to robbery affecting commerce and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell presided.

Prosecutors at trial presented evidence that Arkinson and Milsten entered the residence of a Helena drug dealer on April 23, 2017 to steal drugs and drug proceeds. Arkinson was armed with a sawed-off shotgun, and Milsten searched the residence for drugs and money. A small amount of methamphetamine, U.S. currency and a cell phone were stolen. Shurtliff planned the robbery and acted as the getaway driver.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bartleson prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Montana Regional Violent Crime Task Force.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.