Crime & Courts

Dec 6, 2011 11:53 AM by US Attorney's Office

Poplar man sentenced to 30 years for murdering Army soldier

Curtis Ray Eder, a 23-year-old resident of Poplar, was sentenced on Monday to 30 years in prison on charges of second-degree murder and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Eder was found guilty in August for the 2010 death of Ryan Buckles (pictured).

During the trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.

On July 4, 2010, Eder and Darcy Bushman were in an on-again off-again romantic relationship. They share a child. As told by Bushman, the night before, Eder wanted to spend time with Bushman, but she instead was with her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Buckles, who was on leave from the military. Eder had a lot to drink the night and early morning of July 3 and 4, 2010.

Shortly before 5:00 a.m., Eder knocked on Bushman's bedroom window at her home in Poplar. Bushman was in bed with Buckles. Bushman met Eder on the front porch and they argued. When Eder realized that Bushman was with Buckles, he became enraged and grabbed Bushman and bit her lower ear off.

Eder then grabbed a kitchen knife, kicked in the bedroom door where Buckles was sleeping, and stabbed Buckles 23 times, which resulted in his death.

After the stabbing, Eder ran outside of Bushman's home and got into a nearby car owned by Gordon Brown. While in Brown's vehicle, Eder stated to Brown that someone tried to stab him. Eder got out of the vehicle and was found by police officers shortly thereafter.

After Eder's arrest, a crime scene investigation was conducted and Bushman's ear lobe and a knife were recovered. Eder was later interviewed. He confirmed the events of July 3 and 4 as told by Bushman, but claims that he blacked out and woke up in tribal jail.

The knife and Eder's clothing were sent to the FBI lab. The tests performed confirm that the blood on the knife and on Eder's clothing was Buckles' blood. Eder is an enrolled member at Fort Peck.

Buckles attended Poplar Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, East Middle School, and Great Falls High School in Great Falls, and graduated from Chemawa Indian School in May 2007, where he was voted as the Homecoming Prince.

Buckles entered the U.S. Army in September 2008 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and was preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan.

Buckles was back home in Montana on leave when he was killed.

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