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The 5 Most Captivating Montana Stories of 2013

2013 was one of those years where Montana state was thrust into the spotlight of national media due to numerous stories that captivated everyone’s attention.

From newlywed brides accused of murder, to a summer fire that was declared one of the biggest in America, these are some of the stories that are still being talked about amongst locals and abroad.

While it’s difficult to pin down which events had the most impact on our region, we dug into the analytics of our websites to find which stories had the most views and interactions to gauge which stories deserved to make this Top 5. Read on and see if you agree…

Photo by Peter Christian
Photo by Peter Christian


Back in November, Two individuals were charged with attempted deliberate homicide and felony robbery. Both were involved with the undercover drug sting in front of Gold’s Gym that ended with an unidentified plain-clothes police officer and the drug suspect being shot.


Photo courtesy of Peter Christian
Photo courtesy of Peter Christian


On July 26, the NCAA released its long-awaited report regarding the University of Montana football program. The report stated that the university, and its former head coach, failed to monitor the football program.

The report stated that: ‘University boosters provided extra benefits to football players, including meals, free legal representation and bail bond payments, a small loan, clothing, lodging, transportation and laundry services. Additionally, the football team exceeded coaching limits and two former student-athletes competed while ineligible. As a result of this activity, the university and the former head coach failed to monitor.’

The report concluded an 18-month investigation.


Photo courtesy of izzyb412/Flickr
Photo courtesy of izzyb412/Flickr


The Lolo Complex Fire was originally two low-priority fires that did not threaten structures. However, over the course of just a few short days, hot weather and winds have fanned the fires into an official state of emergency. As a result, the West Fork II fire and the original School House Fire were considered one of the nations biggest fire threats as they burned on both sides of Highway 12.

Hundreds were evacuated while numerous firefighters, volunteers and the National Guard came to the rescue to dampen the flames.




Jordan Linn Graham, 22, of Kalispell, was officially charged, Thursday, Oct. 3 with killing her newly wed husband Cody Johnson, 25, in Glacier National Park on July 7.Graham, was charged with her husband of eight days’ murder in U.S. District Court in Missoula. Authorities allege that Graham pushed Johnson off a cliff while the two were hiking in the park.

This story continues to unfold in Missoula Justice Court while the eyes of the nation are glued to the case.


Billings Police Dept.
Billings Police Dept.


Stacey Rambold, who admitted raping 14-year-old Cherice Moralez in 2007, finished only a 30-day term at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge. Moralez, who at the time was a student at the high school where Rambold taught, committed suicide in 2010.

In August, when District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings, announced that Rambold’s 15-year sentence would be suspended except for one month, it sparked a national outcry. Baugh also remarked that Moralez was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as Rambold, which enraged people across the country who said the judge was blaming the victim. The women’s rights group Ultraviolet has asked that he resign, gathering 140,000 signatures on a petition they submitted to the Montana Supreme Court’s Judicial Standard Commission.


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