Mancha Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Killing His Wife
GREAT FALLS - The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Thomas Edward Mancha, a 61-year-old resident of Browning, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment, for the murder of his wife on New Year’s Day, 2017. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided over the hearing.
At an earlier hearing, Mancha pleaded guilty to second degree murder. On January l, 2017, Mancha was involved in an altercation with his wife at the Lewis and Clark Camp Disappointment Monument, which is located along the north side of U.S. Highway 2, approximately 13 miles east of Browning. A witness arrived on the scene and observed Mancha holding his wife by the hair or back of shirt collar. When the witness threatened to call 911, Mancha released his wife and she ran away from him. However, Mancha got into a Dodge pick-up truck and intentionally drove the truck directly into her as she ran, knocking her to the ground. According to the witness, Mancha turned the truck around and drove over his wife a second time. The victim died at the scene from massive internal injuries and a severed spine.
After killing his wife, Mancha fled the scene and drove to a train crossing near the small community of Blackfoot. He waited in front of an oncoming train in an apparent suicide attempt. Although he later denied that he was trying to kill himself, Mancha admitted that he was angry with his wife because she was divorcing him.
Judge Morris sentenced Mancha to 20 years in federal prison, with five years of supervised release to follow. Because there is no parole in the federal system, Mancha will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Mancha does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme stated, “We are pleased with the court’s sentence today, and our sympathies go out to the victim’s family and the Blackfeet tribal community for their loss. I also want to thank all of the people who helped successfully prosecute this case, including AUSA Jeff Starnes, the FBI agents and BIA law enforcement officers who worked on this case, and the victim and witness staff members from our respective offices.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office, the Blackfeet Law Enforcement Service and various other federal, state, and local agencies.