Cecil Thomas Rice, a transient who killed Anthony Walthers by pushing him off of a bridge near Evergreen, will spend the next 70 years in prison.
Flathead District Court Judge Dan Wilson sentenced Rice on Thursday to 70 years in the Montana State Prison.
Rice was found guilty of deliberate homicide in early December for causing the death of Walthers, 34 years old.
Prosecutors say that Rice pushed Walthers off the Old Steele Bridge near Evergreen on April 26, 2017.
Walther’s body was found two months later by boaters about a mile and a half offshore 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 December 5 before returning with a verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberation in the two-day trial.