By Alyssa Small
For the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A man who shot his girlfriend in the head and then burned her body to cover up the crime was sentenced Tuesday to 120 years in the Montana State Prison with no chance of parole.
Jay J. Myran, 39, was previously found guilty of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence.
Myran and attorney Peter Ohman maintained in court that the death of Myran’s girlfriend, Gail Brewster, was a “tragic accident,” despite the jury’s previous verdict.
“This was a horrible set of circumstances that resulted in (Brewster’s) death,” Ohman said in court. “The defendant was in a situation that got out of hand.”
But District Judge Holly Brown did not accept the argument.
“This was not a crime of passion or self defense,” Brown said in court. “This was not an accident. This was a criminal act.”
During the trial in May, Myran said he cremated Brewster’s remains.
In court Tuesday, Vicki Veltkamp, Brewster’s former landlord and friend, expressed disgust at this statement.
“That was not cremation, that was desecration,” she said.
In the past two years, Myran has shared little with the court. Tuesday was no different, when he addressed the court only to explain that his poor behavior in prison was due to poor treatment.
“I was acting like an animal because I was in a cage,” Myran said.
Brown took issue with Myran not interacting with the court, saying he had remained aloof throughout the proceedings.
“He has to be considered as a danger to any community in which he stays,” Brown said. “He knew what he was doing, and he knew it was wrong.”
Myran will pay $7,998.75 in restitution to Veltkamp. He is also required to register as a violent offender. Myran has been incarcerated ever since his initial arrest and has received credit for 763 days in jail.
According to court documents:
In May 2009, Myran and Brewster were in Brewster’s home in Three Forks, with Myran’s son. Myran had previously brought out and loaded a gun and, in an argument with Brewster, shot her in the head.
Myran later argued that Brewster taunted him and, once he had cocked the weapon, she placed the barrel of the gun in her own mouth. Myran maintained that the gun accidentally fired.
Myran then enlisted the help of his 13-year-old son, dragging Brewster out onto the porch. They left her body outside overnight. The next morning, Myran and his son burned Brewster’s remains.