Press Releases

Suspect in Montana child slaying gets 130 years for separate assaults

By Tom Laceky, Associated Press Writer
Friday May 24, 2002

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Nathaniel Bar-Jonah, the man accused of butchering a 10-year-old boy here and feeding his remains to unsuspecting neighbors, was sentenced Thursday to 130 years in prison without parole for assaults on two other boys. 

State District Judge Kenneth Neill, citing Bar-Jonah’s extensive record of crimes against children, turned down a request from defense attorneys that Bar-Jonah be sent to the state psychiatric hospital instead of prison. 

Bar-Jonah showed no emotion and was quickly removed from the courtroom. 

Don Vernay, a defense attorney, said the sentence would be appealed. Attorneys already have said they would appeal the jury’s verdicts. 

Bar-Jonah’s sentence included 100 years for sexual assault, 10 years for aggravated kidnapping and 20 years for assault. Neill ordered that they run consecutively. 

The assault and sexual assault charges stem from a 1999 case involving two young boys who lived near Bar-Jonah. Investigators said Bar-Jonah sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy and strung the boy’s 8-year-old cousin by his neck with a pulley and rope to watch him choke. 

Both boys testified during Bar-Jonah’s jury trial in Butte. Neill had ordered the case moved to Butte because of publicity in Great Falls surrounding separate kidnapping and murder charges he faces in the 1996 disappearance of Zachary Ramsay. 

Bar-Jonah, 45, spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts mental hospital after one attack in that state in which authorities said he tried to kill two boys. Two years before that, he forced an 8-year-old boy into his car and choked him with his belt so badly that the boy was hospitalized.