Man Convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter in Stabbing Death

William Arocha Jr. convicted for 2017 death of Shane LaPlant in East Glacier

By Molly Priddy

GREAT FALLS — A federal jury has convicted a 21-year-old Montana man of voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of a Browning man last summer.

William Arocha Jr. was charged with second-degree murder in the July 5, 2017 death of 35-year-old Shane LaPlant in East Glacier, but jurors on Wednesday convicted him of the lesser charge. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.

Investigators say LaPlant arrived uninvited at Arocha’s father’s wedding party and fought with Arocha and his family. Prosecutors say Arocha Jr. stabbed LaPlant in the side and later stabbed him two dozen times. Arocha claimed he was acting in self-defense.

Arocha was earlier convicted of assault and negligent endangerment in Blackfeet Tribal Court. He was sentenced to jail time and was ordered to pay $775,000 in restitution to LaPlant’s family.