Victims of the State

4 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases




Date of Alleged Crime


Entire State of MT Sedition Act 79 1917-1918
In the midst of World War I, Montana passed a sedition act which banned speech and writings considered unpatriotic including those that criticized the war effort.  The act carried penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.  Montana's legislature also created a Council of Defense.  Among the Council's edicts was the banning of books about Germany and publicly speaking German.  During the act's existence, 79 people were convicted of violating it.  Individuals were convicted for expressing support for Germany, refusing to buy Liberty War Bonds, and criticizing the U.S.'s entry into the European war.  Of those convicted, 41 served an average of 19 months imprisonment, 3 escaped punishment, while the rest paid only fines.  In 2005, a book about the act was published.  One individual was pardoned in 1921, and in 2006, Governor Schweitzer posthumously pardoned the other 78.  (JD32 p6)  [12/06]


Richland County, MT Paul D. Kordonowy July 25, 1987 (Sidney)
Paul Demetri Kordonowy was convicted of the rape of a woman identified as K.B.  The victim could only specify general characteristics of her assailant.  Crime lab technician Arnold Melnikoff gave testimony that hair and blood tests identified Kordonowy as the assailant, although the semen sample contained an enzyme that could not have come from Kordonowy.  DNA tests exonerated Kordonowy in 2003.  (IP)  [10/05]


Silver Bow County, MT Chester Bauer Jan 26, 1983 (Butte)
Chester Bauer was convicting of raping a woman, identified as D.K., after the victim and her husband identified Bauer.  Crime lab technician Arnold Melnikoff testified that hairs found at scene matched Bauer.  Later it was learned that none of the hairs matched Bauer.  DNA tests exonerated Bauer in 1997.  (IP)  [10/05]


Yellowstone County, MT Jimmy Ray Bromgard Mar 20, 1987 (Billings)
Jimmy Ray Bromgard was convicted of raping an 8-year-old girl.  The victim said she was "60%, 65% sure" that Bromgard was her assailant after seeing him in a lineup and said, "I am not too sure," when asked if he was her assailant at trial.  Crime lab technician Arnold Melnikoff testified that hairs found at scene matched Bromgard and that there was only a 1 in 10,000 chance of them being from another person.  DNA tests exonerated Bromgard in 2002.  (IP)  [10/05]