Man allegedly threatened to kill cannabis store employee during robbery

Apr. 27—A man who allegedly threatened to kill a cannabis store employee in Evergreen unless she gave him marijuana earlier this month is being held in the county jail on a $77,000 bond.

Joel William Vessie, 28, faces a single felony robbery charge in Flathead County District Court following the April 17 confrontation. His arraignment is scheduled for May 12 with a bond reduction hearing to follow.

According to the distraught store employee, who met with deputies as they arrived about 12:41 pm, she approached a customer — later identified as Vessie — to offer assistance. He was mumbling about murder, she recalled, and said, “I want to kill someone.”

He then asked her for one or two buds of marijuana, court documents said. When the employee turned him down, he allegedly threatened her.

“I have people that can mess you up if you don’t help me out right now,” he said, according to court documents.

The employee handed over a tube containing a joint, waited until he left and then phoned 911, court documents said. Deputies reported that she was shaking and fearful when they spoke with her.

After reviewing surveillance footage of the robbery, deputies took down a description of the man. They later found an individual matching his description — Vessie — near a fast food restaurant on Montana 35. During the arrest, deputies recovered an empty marijuana tube in his possession, court documents said.

Felony robbery is punishable by between two and 40 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

Vessie previously pleaded guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in 2017, according to a search of district court records. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.

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