Oak Harbor man arrested in Montana dismemberment killing

The suspect, Leon Michael Ford, 66, owned 15 acres north of the victim’s property near Helena.

Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. — A man has been arrested in Washington in connection with the killing and dismemberment of a Montana man nearly a decade ago, authorities said Wednesday.

Leon Michael Ford, 66, of Oak Harbor, was taken into custody on Whidbey Island Wednesday morning with the help of detectives from Montana’s Lewis and Clark County, Sheriff Leo Dutton told the Independent Record. Dutton declined to discuss the evidence that led to the arrest.

It was not clear where Ford was being held or if he had a lawyer representing him.

Ford is accused of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence in the killing of John “Mike” Crites, a Helena-area man who went missing in June 2011 amid a dispute with his neighbors over land access. Parts of his body were found in garbage bags on MacDonald Pass west of Helena four months later. His skull was found near a trail outside Elliston in September 2012.

Ford owned 15 acres north of Crites’ property at the time of Crites’ death, according to the newspaper’s archives. He was scheduled to meet with Crites on the last day he was seen alive.

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