- Associated Press - Thursday, July 27, 2017

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - An attorney for a Montana man convicted and sentenced to prison for the kidnap and rape of a 4-year-old girl on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation says he plans to appeal.

Assistant Federal Defender Henry “Hank” Branom said Thursday that 22-year-old John Lieba maintains his innocence. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris sentenced Lieba Wednesday to 42 years after a jury convicted him in April.

The two-day search for the young victim in February 2016 rattled the reservation. It was followed weeks later by the murder of 13-month-old Kenzley Olson.

Kenzley’s caregiver, Janelle Red Dog, also was sentenced Wednesday, to 20 years in prison. Branom says Red Dog’s plea deal with prosecutors barred her from appealing.

Tribal leaders said the two crimes resulted from the scourge of drug abuse on the sparsely-populated reservation near the U.S.-Canada border.

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