Lots of developments today in cases we’ve been following:
Christmas shooting: Lawyers will be able to keep talking to news organizations about the Christmas Day shootings of a Kalispell woman and her teenage daughter.
District Judge Stewart Stadler said Wednesday he would sign an order reinforcing existing rules that prevent attorneys from making statements that could lead to possible prejudice against a defendant, the Daily Inter Lake reported.
“It does not restrain anything other than what the professional rules of conduct already require,” Stadler said.
Tyler Michael Miller [in photo] is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide in the shooting deaths of Jaimi Hurlbert, 35, and her daughter, Alyssa Burkett, outside Miller’s mother’s house west of Kalispell.
Woman’s body found: Mineral County Sheriff Ernie Ornelas said the death is now being treated as a homicide.
The body of Kelly Jo Dube-Woodard, 47, was found last Friday in a wooded area six miles outside Superior. Dube-Woodard disappeared on Tuesday, May 24, and had made a report that she was being assaulted.
That report led to the issuance of a warrant for her ex-husband, 52-year-old Michael Woodard. He was arrested Wednesday, May 25, by Nevada Highway Patrol troopers in Nevada just over the Idaho state line.
Woodard is being held there on charges of aggravated assault and kidnaping, although Ornelas’ press release doesn’t specifically state those charges involve his ex-wife.
Hit-and-run death: A Missoula woman whose vehicle rear-ended a scooter will go to prison for the death of the pastor driving it.
Traci LaJoie, 31, pleaded guilty in March to negligent vehicular homicide in the death of Fred Emery.
On Tuesday, Missoula District Judge John Larson rejected a plea agreement that would have given LaJoie the maximum sentence of 20 years, with 18 years suspended, and no parole on the remaining two years.
LaJoie then had the option of withdrawing her guilty plea and going to trial, but instead chose to go with a new sentence from Larson, who doubled the amount of time she’ll spend in the Montana State Women’s Prison without parole.