BILLINGS, Mont. — The Latest on the sentencing of a Wyoming in a double murder on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation. (all times local):
A federal judge has sentenced a Wyoming man to life in prison for the murders of two good Samaritans who stopped to help him on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters said Thursday that 20-year-old Jesus Deniz Mendoza posed a continuing danger and was unable to control the “demons” of mental illness and drug use that that he blamed on the killings.
Mendoza pleaded guilty to shooting Jason and Tana Shane in the back of the head along a roadside near Pryor in July 2015.
He shot the couple’s grown daughter as she was running from the scene and fired at several other people who sought to help the family.
His sentencing comes days after the close-knit Crow reservation was again wracked by violence with three people killed and two wounded at a house in Lodge Grass.
Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to send a Wyoming man to prison for life after he pleaded guilty to killing a couple and wounding their daughter when the family stopped to help him on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation.
Twenty-year-old Jesus Deniz Mendoza is due to be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Billings on Thursday in the July 2015 roadside shootings of Jason and Tana Shane near the town of Pryor.
Defense Attorney David Merchant II has asked for a 60-year sentence.
Merchant argued in court filings that a shorter sentence would be merciful given that Mendoza was 18 years old at the time of the shootings and has a history of mental illness and drug abuse.
Prosecutors say Mendoza would kill again if he were released from prison.