POLSON — A Browning man who was convicted of stabbing a man to death during a racially charged encounter outside a Polson house party two years ago has been sentenced to 60 years in prison.
District Judge James Manley sentenced 34-year-old Makueeyapee Whitford on Wednesday for the March 2013 death of 26-year-old John Pierre Jr. The Missoulian reports Whitford will not be eligible for parole until he serves 25 years.
Whitford apologized for killing Pierre, but maintained he acted in self-defense. Trial testimony indicated the men got into a discussion about the history of bad blood between Whitford’s Blackfeet Tribe and Pierre’s Salish Tribe.
Whitford said he was defending himself after Pierre attacked him and made a “split-second decision” to stab him with a small folding knife. The knife nicked two arteries and Pierre bled to death.
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