Three people now face first-degree murder charges for the beating and burning of Roylynn Rides Horse, a Crow Agency woman, who died on June 28.
Dimarzio Swade Sanchez, 18, and Angelica Jo Whiteman, 23, both pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday. The two are from Busby and Lame Deer, respectively.
A third defendant, Frank James Sanchez, 18, was not named in the initial charging documents. He also entered a plea of not guilty on Monday.
Each defendant faces a charge of first-degree murder, including aiding and abetting.
An indictment adding Frank Sanchez to the case was filed on Friday.
The same document amended the charges to first-degree murder following the death of Rides Horse.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby presided over the hearings, which were held separately but are part of the same case.
According to the indictment, Rides Horse left the Kirby Saloon in a car on April 17. She was with Dimarzio Sanchez, Whiteman and four others.
Three of the passengers were named in the indictment by initials and gave statements to investigators. One of them has the initials of F.S.
During the drive, Whiteman and Rides Horse began arguing, according to the indictment. The altercation turned physical, and Dimarzio Sanchez drove to an area of the Crow Reservation on Highway 212.
Whiteman dragged Rides Horse out of the car, beat her and tried to “strangle her to death,” charges state. Whiteman started crying, believing she had killed Rides Horse.
Sanchez allegedly said that Rides Horse was still alive and strangled her with a bandana, saying that, “I’m only going to show you this once,” court documents state.
He then asked one person, who was identified with the initials F.S., to grab a gas can out of the trunk, the indictment states. Witnesses told investigators that Rides Horse was doused with gasoline, but they weren’t sure which person specifically lit her on fire.
Rides Horse was left in the field. She suffered third-degree burns on 45 percent of her body, as well as frostbite. It was 14 hours before anyone found her.
There were little details of the case following the discovery of Rides Horse, drawing criticism from tribal and state officials.
She was flown to a burn center in Salt Lake City, where she died on the morning of June 28.
A trial date has not yet been set in this case. All three of the defendants remain in detention until further notice.