MISSOULA — A federal judge in Missoula sentenced an Evaro man to 21 months in federal prison after his conviction on gun crimes on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.
Earlier this year, 30-year-old Michael DeFrance was found guilty of owning guns which he was not legally allowed to do after a 2013 misdemeanor partner-family member assault case.
He was charged with violence against his then-girlfriend, Jermain Charlo. Charlo is the woman who’s been missing for the past five years.
The firearms case against DeFrance came about during the investigation into Charlo’s disappearance although he has not been named a suspect in that case.
Jermain Charlo’s family members were in the courtroom Thursday during sentencing and told me the sentence wasn’t enough.
"It's not exactly the victory that we wanted. Just this smallest little bit of justice,” said Jermain Charlo’s aunt Valenda Underwood. “I'm happy that he has to go away and I'm hoping that will still be in place with the appeal. But it's something for right now."
DeFrance's defense attorney, Michael Donahoe had asked Federal Judge Dana Christensen for probation for his client, characterizing him as a married family man who took care of his children.
The judge denied that request and another one that would have allowed DeFrance to remain free until he appeals his case to the 9th Circuit Court.
Christensen sentenced DeFrance to 21 months on each of the four counts but the time will be served concurrently.
DeFrance also be on supervision for three years after he’s out of prison.
(first report: 10:08 a.m. - Sept. 21, 2023)
The former boyfriend of a missing Dixon woman was sentenced to prison on Thursday, September 21, 2023.
A judge had found Michael Blake DeFrance guilty on all counts, including being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm on May 1.
DeFrance has been sentenced to 21 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release on Thursday.
He was convicted in 2013 of assaulting his then-girlfriend, Jermain Charlo.
“DeFrance was previously convicted of partner or family member assault after he assaulted his then partner, Jermain Charlo. Because of this, he lost his right to possess firearms and yet he made false statements on firearms forms so he could illegally obtain guns at a pawn shop. Keeping guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited from having them is critical to the safety of others, particularly women, domestic partners, and families, and I applaud and thank Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer S. Clark and Timothy J. Racicot and the FBI and Missoula Police Department for their hard work in holding DeFrance accountable for these crimes." - U.S. Attorney Laslovich
Charlo has been missing since June of 2018, although the charges in this case are not related to her disappearance.
DeFrance's attorney stated an appeal will be filed following the sentencing.
- information from Jill Valley included in this report.