James John Russell McConnell of Havre was sentenced on Monday after being convicted of domestic assault for breaking his girlfriend’s nose during an argument on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
McConnell, 44 years old, was sentenced in federal court in Great Falls to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said in a news release.
McConnell pleaded guilty in September to domestic assault by habitual offender.
The prosecution said in court records that McConnell, who has three previous convictions for domestic assault, assaulted his girlfriend on June 23, 2018 in Hays by bear-hugging her to where it was painful and hard to breathe. He also verbally threatened her. Court documents allege that he also bit her cheek before he let her go, and then head-butted her in the nose after she refused to tell him that their relationship was over.
Medical records note that the victim had "...shattered nose, hard to breathe through (L) side, lots of pressure, lots of pain,” and that she "was a patient with a complex nasal fracture.” Her injuries required surgery.
The victim was treated for a broken nose at the Northern Montana Hospital.
U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided and ordered the 54-month sentence to be served consecutively to a seven month sentence imposed in a revocation after McConnell violated conditions while on supervised release for a previous conviction. Court documents note that McConnell has several convictions for assault. According to the Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry, McConnell also has been convicted on a charge of sexual intercourse without consent involving a 14-year old girl.
McConnell was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette Stewart prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Fort Belknap law enforcement and the FBI.