A pair of suspects in Benewah County pleaded guilty to felony crimes, setting them for lengthy prison sentences.

A pair of press releases from the Department of Justice detailed two criminal cases that took place on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation in the summer of 2019. Both cases were investigated and tried in the federal district court, which has jurisdiction over crimes on the reservation. Judge B. Lynn Winmill presided over both cases at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

The first suspect, DeSmet resident Jay C. Matt, 38, pleaded guilty to witness tampering in a domestic violence case. Reports said that he was charged and arrested for an incident in DeSmet in August 2019. During his incarceration, U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said, he made contact with several potential witnesses – including the victim in the case – and made efforts to persuade them not to cooperate with the investigation against him.

Among his pleas to witnesses were to not answer questions from investigators, not appear at the trial or change their stories of the event. The stated goal of these requests were to help Matt escape prosecution.

Upon discovery of this conduct, Matt was charged with witness tampering and pleaded guilty. Witness tampering carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, up to three years of probation after release and up to $250,000 fines. Sentencing for Matt will be April 9.

Also pleading guilty to his crimes was Brian Q. Lozon, age 40, of Plummer. According to court records, he was arrested following multiple instances of strangulation.

According to the press release, Lozon engaged in several violent altercations with a female victim. During one of these altercations he grabbed her by the neck in such a way as to impede her ability to breathe. Later in the same altercation, he also used his forearm to apply pressure to her throat, again impeding her ability to breathe. The victim was able to escape Lozon and seek help, after which he was arrested.

Lozon pleaded guilty to strangulation of an intimate partner, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, up to three years of probation after release and up to $250,000 in fines. Sentencing for Lozon will be April 10.

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