KALISPELL - A transient who pushed a man from a Flathead bridge killing him, will spend the next 70 years in prison.
Flathead District Court Judge Dan Wilson sentenced Cecil Thomas Rice to 70 years in the Montana State Prison Thursday.
Rice was found guilty of deliberate homicide in early December for causing the death of Anthony Walthers, 34.
Prosecutors say that Rice pushed Walthers off the Old Steele Bridge near Evergreen on April 26, 2017.
Walthers’ body was found by boaters about 1½ miles from the mouth of the Flathead River.
Health Joy Meeker, Rice's girlfriend, confirmed to detectives that Rice had pushed Walthers off the bridge.
Meeker told detectives Rice was upset over an inappropriate comment Walthers made about Meeker earlier in the day.
The jury heard closing arguments on Dec. 5 before returning with a verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberation in the two-day trial.
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