This article was originally published by Four Points Press on December 20, 2021.
A Lodge Grass teen was charged as an adult in Big Horn County District Court with a felony for beating another teen until he broke his jaw and knocked out several of the victim’s teeth.
Chester Turnsplenty Jr., 17, pleaded not guilty on Nov. 20 to one count of felony aggravated assault in Big Horn County District Court. He faces up to 20 years and $50,000 in fines.
According to charging documents, on Nov. 1, shortly after midnight, Big Horn County Sheriff's Deputy responded to the Big Horn Hospital about an assault. Upon arriving, a deputy interviewed the victim who had been assaulted outside his residence west of Hardin.
The victim reported his friend came over and they went outside to smoke. While they were outside an unknown male got out of a pickup truck and began punching the victim's head, charges documents reported.
During a subsequent interview, the victim stated that he approached the pickup truck where he was attacked by Chester Turnsplenty Jr., charges documents reported.
The deputy was also able to interview the victim’s friend who was at the incident stating he was at a Halloween party and left in the pickup truck to go over to the victim’s house to smoke marijuana, charges documents reported.
According to charges documents, when the friend got out of the truck, one of the people in the back of the truck also got out and began punching the victim, breaking his jaw and causing serious facial injuries, breaking his jaw, and causing him to lose several teeth.
The friend alleged he wasn't sure, but he thought the attacker’s last name was Turnsplenty, charges documents reported.
On Nov. 8, according to charging documents, a Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office detective re-interviewed the friend and during that interview, he identified Turnsplenty as the person who had assaulted the victim on Halloween.
On Nov. 8, the detective interviewed a girl, who charging documents indicated was dating Turnsplenty. The girl reported the day before the assault that she had been drinking in Billings with the victim. She reportedly went to vomit out of the vehicle and the victim had stopped her, she said, by allegedly by punching her.
She told the detective that she told Turnsplenty about the incident and Turnsplenty reportedly told the girl he would “take care of the problem,” according to the charging documents.
The next day on Nov. 9, the detective interviewed Turnsplenty about the alleged assault, he stated he was upset about the Billings incident involving his girlfriend and he was at a Halloween party and heard people say they were going to smoke with the victim and he tagged along, charges documents reported.
According to the charging documents, when they arrived at the victim’s house,
Charging documents indicated that Turnsplenty punched the victim in the face and continued to punch him in the face, even after he fell to the ground.
According to Montana State law, minors who are 17 who are charged with certain crimes, including aggravated assault must be charged as an adult.
Aggravated assault is defined as, “purposely or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another or purposely or knowingly, with the use of physical force or contact, causes reasonable apprehension of serious bodily injury or death in another.”