Browning Man Pleads Guilty to Assault

Johnathan Charles Gifford Oldchief on June 26 admitted to shooting another man during an argument in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation

By Maggie Dresser
Beacon file photo

A Browning man today admitted that he shot another man during an argument in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Johnathan Charles Gifford Oldchief, 24, pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault with a dangerous weapon and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

According to court documents, Oldchief on the evening of April 7 drank heavily in a residence with a group of people. Just after midnight, he left the home in a vehicle that he drove with five other people inside. After driving less than two blocks, Oldchief and a person in the car got into a verbal argument. Oldchief stopped the vehicle and another person intervened to keep the two from “coming to blows.”

Oldchief ordered the man out of the vehicle. He complied and another person also got out. After driving a short distance, Oldchief stopped the vehicle, removed a pistol from near the console and got out of the vehicle. He shot the man point blank one time, records state.

After returning to the car, Oldchief left the scene while others called emergency services.

The victim was flown to a Great Falls hospital where he underwent lifesaving surgery.

Law enforcement recovered a live round and a spent shell casing from the scene. Officers also recovered a 9mm magazine in a search of the vehicle. The bullet and a description of the gun matched a pistol that Oldchief bought in February.

Oldchief’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16. He remains detained.

Oldchief faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on assault charges and a mandatory minimum five years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence. He also faces a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release on the firearm charge.

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