« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Published November 27 2012

Montana man gets life in prison in North Dakota slaying

BISMARCK — A Montana man who told investigators that a dream led him to kidnap and kill a man in North Dakota was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without parole.

South Central District Judge Cynthia Feland called John Bridges a “cold and calculating individual” as she sentenced him for the killing of Lee Edward Clay, according to The Bismarck Tribune. Besides the life sentence, Bridges, 42, was given an additional 20 years on the kidnapping charge.

Clay, 40, was found dead in a van that crashed in a ditch off Interstate 94 on July 6. An officer became suspicious that Clay's injuries didn't match the severity of the crash.

Bridges eventually acknowledged to investigators that he killed Clay and planned to kill another man based on a dream. Bridges met Clay while working in Bismarck.

In court, Burleigh County Assistant State's Attorney Lloyd Suhr said Bridges denied killing Lee until confronted with evidence of a video from a North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper's squad car showing him burying zip ties that had been used to bind Lee's wrists and other evidence.

Suhr, who pushed for a life sentence, said the killing was a “particularly violent homicide” that had been planned without provocation.

“Here, Lee Clay did nothing. He was up here looking for work and met the wrong person at the wrong time,” Suhr said.

Suhr said Bridges would not respond well to rehabilitation and pointed to a psychologist's opinion in an evaluation that described him as psychopathic and dangerous.

Bridges told the judge he had no statements to make regarding sentencing.