Bayfield Co. Man to Serve Life Sentence for Carlton Co. Murder

Updated: February 24, 2020 06:18 PM

CARLTON COUNTY, Minn. - A 34-year-old Bayfield County man has received a life sentence without opportunity for parole for the death of his uncle.


In January, James Montano was found guilty of crimes committed in rural Carlton County in April of 2018. He received two consecutive sentences in court Monday.

Montano faces 15 years for the attempted murder of his cousin Hudson Gauthier who was grazed by a bullet on the back of his head. Montano faces a life sentence for the premeditated murder of his uncle, Andrew Gokee, who was shot at close range.

Montano declined to address the court before getting sentenced.

Gokee's daughter recorded a victim impact statement that expressed the emotional toll Gokee's death has had on her children and herself. She stated that she still finds herself reaching for the phone wanting to call her dad as she had done daily.

The family shared a statement issued by former Governor Scott Walker. Walker offered his deepest condolences and honored Gokee as a statewide advocate for Ojibwe language and culture.

Judge Leslie Beiers handed down the sentence in a hearing Monday saying that the life of a loved father and grandfather, and prominent cultural and spiritual leader was ended by a senseless act of violence.

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