Browning Man Gets 60 Years for Stabbing Death

Makueeyapee Whitford will not be eligible for parole until he serves 25 years

By Dillon Tabish

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.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.