HELENA — Nearly a year and a half after causing the death of his daughter and injuring her mother, Tony Louis Valez was sentenced to 100 years in the Montana State Prison.
Valez, 66 years old, appeared via Zoom on Wednesday in front of Judge Mike Menahan. He was unable to appear in person, as the jail had no portable oxygen tank.
Officers were called to the area on July 10, 2022, for a report from a man who told dispatchers he shot at people inside his residence due to those people trying to assault him.
A second 911 call was made by another person in the same residence stating that an adult female was shot.
Court documents state that Valez believed that the two people had come to his residence in order to remove him. Documents say that neither person made any threatening gestures or verbal threats towards Valez.
Police say that Valez admitted that he snapped, retrieved a firearm from his bedroom, and began shooting at the two people.
One woman was struck by the gunfire. Bullets missed the second person, but hit and killed Arianna, his daughter.
The defense requested 40 years, with the prosecution asking for the maximum sentence of 100 years.
Valez was also ordered to pay restitution to the Montana Board of Crime Control as they paid for Arianna’s funeral.
Valez addressed the court and apologized for what happened: “I’m sorry for all this. I can’t undo what I’ve done. The pain and the misery will last a lifetime and I’m sorry for that.”
At the time of the shooting, seven people were at the house, four of them under the age of 18.
He injured Arianna’s mother, Heather, and unintentionally hit Arianna in her back as she was trying to run out the back door.
“The day Arianna died, so did a part of my heart. I feel lost, I don’t know what to do. It’s a never-ending nightmare of pain. Night and day it’s this prevailing thought that she died, and I lived,” Heather Valez said.
Valez might be eligible for parole after serving a quarter of his sentence, which would make him 91 years old.