Jury Convicts Busby Man of First Degree Murder
BILLINGS – Following a four-day trial with testimony from fourteen government witnesses, Dimarzio Swade Sanchez, 20, of Busby, was convicted by a Montana jury of first degree murder. Sanchez will be sentenced on March 29, 2018 and faces mandatory life in prison for the murder. He also faces a $250,000 fine, and up to five years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided over the trial.
Evidence presented at trial by Assistant United States Attorneys Lori Suek and John Sullivan showed that on April 17, 2016, the victim received a ride from Dimarzio Sanchez, Angelica Jo Whiteman, Frank James Sanchez, and others. On the way to Crow Agency, an altercation ensued in the vehicle. The vehicle stopped on Castle Rock Road.
The evidence showed that the victim was beaten when Dimarzio and Frank Sanchez retrieved a gas can from the trunk of the vehicle. The victim was stripped naked, covered in gas and set on fire. All the remaining occupants of the vehicle then left the scene. The victim remained in the field for approximately fourteen hours until discovered and given emergency medical treatment. The victim, who suffered third degree burns and severe frostbite of the legs, was hospitalized in Salt Lake City until pronounced dead on June 28, 2016.
U. S. Attorney Kurt Alme stated, “We are pleased with the jury’s verdict. It is the result of hard work by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Lori Suek and John Sullivan, FBI and BIA law enforcement; and the victim and witness staff and other staff of the FBI and BIA and the U. S. Attorney’s Office. Our sympathies go out to the victim’s family and the Crow tribal community for their loss.”
Co-defendant Angelica Jo Whiteman, 19 of Lame Deer, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting first-degree murder on August 30, 2017. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 3, 2018 and is facing life imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release. Co-defendant Frank James Sanchez, 19 of Lame Deer, pleaded guilty to misprision of a felony and accessory after the fact on March 14, 2017. Sanchez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 18, 2018 and is facing maximum punishment of fifteen years in prison, $125,000 fine and three years supervised release.
The case was a cooperative investigative effort between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.