Billings man held in slaying of great-grandmother balks at return to Montana

2013-07-24T12:14:00Z 2014-03-27T16:18:05Z Billings man held in slaying of great-grandmother balks at return to MontanaBy ZACH BENOIT The Billings Gazette

It could take as long as 60 days to return a Billings man suspected of murdering his great-grandmother at her South Side home to Montana after he refused to waive his right to extradition in a Colorado court.

Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said Wednesday that Robert Alan Thompson, 19, remains in custody in Denver after he refused during a court hearing there earlier this week to willingly return to Billings with local authorities.

Thompson was arrested in Denver on Saturday on suspicion of the deliberate homicide of Shirley Lawrence, 77, at her home at 4434 Murphy Ave., the day before.

Twito said he has signed a letter to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock asking for a warrant to return Thompson to Billings from Denver.

"We have to apply for a governor’s warrant to ask for his return back to our jurisdiction," he said. "If we get it, the people in Denver would examine the warrant and decide whether they can send him back."

Bullock's warrant would petition Colorado's governor to return Thompson to Montana.

Such a request and warrant are the next steps in the legal process of returning Thompson to Billings. Had he waived his right to extradition, he could have been released into the custody of Montana authorities.

Twito said the extradition process typically takes as long as 60 days.

However, Thompson has another hearing in Denver County court scheduled for Aug. 5, when he'll be given another opportunity to waive extradition.

"I would imagine even if he doesn’t waive at this next hearing in August, I think we’ll have him back before that month’s out," Twito said.

Authorities found Lawrence's body in her home July 19 after a relative stopped by to check on her. An autopsy determined that she died of bludgeoning and suffered multiple stab wounds.

An affidavit filed in Yellowstone County said Thompson had been living with her and that he confessed to Denver police investigators to attacking and killing her after she told him he'd turn out like his father.

Thompson then took Lawrence's car and drove with three teenage boys to Denver, where an officer pulled them over after running the car's license plate and learning it was connected to the homicide, the court documents state.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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