Two Mont. inmates charged with assaulting CO, concealing weapons

Vidal Not Afraid, 32, and Lance Kevin Ricker, 18, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of assaulting an officer

By Paul Hamby
Billings Gazette, Mont.

BILLINGS, Mont. — Two men who already pleaded guilty to violent offenses are now accused of concealing makeshift weapons and grappling with a Yellowstone County jailer earlier this month.

Vidal Not Afraid, 32, and Lance Kevin Ricker, 18, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of assaulting an officer and multiple counts of possessing deadly weapons while incarnated at Yellowstone County Detention Facility. The two were cellmates at YCDF.

The two were in their cell together August 20 when a detention officer was locking down a portion of the North 3 cell block, according to charging documents. Ricker's hand was pinched between the door and its frame when it closed, prompting the officer to call a nurse. The nurse left to get Ricker some painkillers and an ice pack. The detention officer called for assistance as Ricker was allegedly getting loud in his cell.

When the detention officer tried to close the cell door again, Ricker and Not Afraid allegedly rushed him. The detention officer later told investigators he and Ricker started grappling while Not Afraid grabbed his leg to take the officer off his feet.

Surveillance footage is alleged to show Ricker holding the officer in a headlock while Not Afraid takes one of his legs. The officer then drops to the ground.

A second detention officer told investigators he wrestled with Ricker and called for backup during the melee. He said Not Afraid allegedly refused orders from officers, and eventually had to be tazed and placed in handcuffs.

Not Afraid was allegedly carrying a blade made out of a six-inch piece of metal in a sheath made out of playing cards when officers searched him, court documents said. Inside Not Afraid and Ricker's cell, officers found a second jerry-rigged knife made from an 11-inch piece of metal and a comb built into a knuckle duster.

Both men were awaiting sentences in Yellowstone County District Court after pleading guilty to violent felonies earlier this year. Not Afraid pleaded guilty to mitigated deliberate homicide after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors in July. He admitted to fatally shooting 29-year-old Terrin Oldcrow "while under severe mental or emotional distress," according to the plea agreement in which prosecutors recommended he be sentenced to 40 years in prison with 15 suspended.

Also in July, Ricker admitted to shooting a man in the leg at a Billings motel earlier this year. In exchange for pleading guilty to one count of assault with a weapon, prosecutors will recommend a four-year deferred sentence and a $1,000 fine.

Standing Master Brad Kneeland set Not Afraid's bond at $700,000, concurrent with other charges still pending in district court. He set Ricker's bond at $75,000. Ricker has been in custody since March of this year, while Not Afraid has been at YCDF since April 2021.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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