By Patrick Winderl
A Rocky Boy man with a history of violent offenses has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping a woman near the Milk River in 2001.
Mark Justin Denny, also known as Casey Boyd Bigknife, 29, pleaded guilty Dec. 11 to sexual assault without consent and failure to register as a violent offender, both felonies.
During sentencing Friday, District Judge John Warner also handed down a sentence of one year and one day in prison for the charge of failure to register, to run consecutively with the 10 years.
Denny failed to register in Hill County in August of 2000 after being released from Montana State Prison after serving a sentence for assaulting two people in 1995, according to court documents.
Denny was charged on Jan. 31, 2002, with sexual assault without consent and theft for an incident that occurred on July 7, 2001. According to the criminal complaint, Denny raped a 25-year-old woman who'd been fishing along the Milk River in North Havre and stole $15 from her wallet.
Denny had approached the woman and offered to help her find her dogs about 3:30 p.m., the document said. The woman told police that after walking for several minutes, Denny pushed her to the ground and forced her to have sex, the complaint said.
The woman called emergency dispatch about 3:45 p.m. Sheriff's deputies took the woman to Northern Montana Hospital.
The state crime lab matched DNA evidence with a blood sample taken from Denny at the state prison in 1996, according to the criminal complaint.
Although charges were filed in January of 2002, court proceedings were delayed pending a request by Denny's attorney for a psychological evaluation.
The psychologist found that Denny was capable of making decisions and recognizing consequences. Denny's attorney had previously argued the Denny was unfit to stand trial due to mental disabilities.
According to court documents, another psychologist, testifying at a Social Security administrative hearing, said Denny demonstrated "violent and aggressive behavior, decreased impulse control, intense anger and stress related paranoid ideation."
According to court documents, Denny and his attorney, Randy Randolph, were often at odds regarding defense strategy. Randolph petitioned Warner on Oct. 23 to allow him to be removed from the case. Warner denied the motion on Nov. 26 in a decision that also found Denny mentally fit to stand trial.
The trial was set for Dec. 9, but was canceled after Denny failed to appear. He was arrested, and pleaded guilty on Dec. 11.
Denny was convicted in June of 1996 of two counts of felony assault. According to the criminal complaint, on Aug. 19, 1995, Denny broke a beer bottle over a man's head at a party, then threw a rock through the window of a car belonging to the man's wife, cutting her with broken glass. The victims identified Denny and he was arrested Sept. 13, 1995.
Denny was sentenced to seven years in prison on July 15, 1996, for the assaults. He was released in October 1999.