Mark Saint Storm Heavy Runner Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on March 28, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, MARK SAINT STORM HEAVY RUNNER, a 44-year-old resident of Browning, pled guilty to second degree murder. Sentencing has been set for July 16, 2012. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica A. Betley and Laura B. Weiss, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In November 2011, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services (BLES) executed a tribal search warrant at the victim's home, located on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Prior to the execution of the search warrant, family members of the victim had contacted BLES and expressed their concerns that they had not seen or heard from her since June 2011.
Upon execution of the search warrant, law enforcement located an object in the home's crawl space that was approximately seven feet long and covered in plastic and wrapped with duct tape. The object was removed from the crawl space by investigators and sent to the Montana State Crime Laboratory. The medical examiner removed the layers, exposing a body inside. Through identifying characteristics, the examiner determined that the body was that of the missing victim.
Those still living at the victim's home were interviewed by law enforcement, including HEAVY RUNNER. During an interview with law enforcement, HEAVY RUNNER confessed to murdering the victim. HEAVY RUNNER stated that on July 1, 2011, he and the victim were arguing. At some point, HEAVY RUNNER retrieved a rope and returned to the living room where the victim was seated. He then strangled her with the rope. After she lost consciousness, he moved her to the bathroom and placed her head in a bathtub full of water. HEAVY RUNNER then wrapped the victim's body in blankets and moved it to a crawl space beneath the home.
HEAVY RUNNER faces possible penalties of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.