MISSOULA — A 38-year-old Montana man has been sentenced 100 years in prison for stabbing a woman to death at a Missoula motel last year and stealing her car during a meth-fueled crime spree.
Scott Austin Price received the same sentence last week for killing his former landlord, Ed Martin, in Miles City last December.
Price earlier pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide in the Dec. 21, 2015, death of 56-year-old Lonette Keehner. He also was sentenced for stabbing another woman in the parking lot of a nearby grocery store.
His accomplice, Sarah Rae McKnight, was given a life sentence as well.
Their sentences were handed down after an emotional few hours of testimony from family members.
It was almost a year ago on, Dec. 21, 2015, when Price stabbed Susan Ledger, who had just left the Missoula Fresh Market on Reserve Street and was getting into her vehicle in the parking lot. McKnight was waiting in the driver’s seat of a nearby car, later telling investigators they intended to steal Ledger’s vehicle and take her money to buy more drugs.
Price has said he intended to kill her.
Instead, the pair left the scene and drove down the block to the Super 8 motel and entered the room that Lonette Keehner was cleaning.
Price and McKnight, who had come to Missoula from Great Falls after Price fled Miles City where he had killed his landlord, were captured the next day in Idaho with Keehner’s stolen vehicle.
Price was charged with deliberate homicide, attempted deliberate homicide, conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, solicitation to commit theft and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence for throwing the knife used to stab Keehner out of the window when they fled Missoula. He pleaded guilty to all charges in September in an open plea without any agreement from prosecutors, meaning District Court Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps had free discretion in how to sentence him Monday.
McKnight pleaded guilty to her felony charges in May, also without a plea agreement, and has been at the Montana State Women’s Prison since then serving a sentence for a 2014 burglary from Powell County.
Price has already been handed down one life sentence this month. On Dec. 5 in Custer County, he was sentenced for killing his landlord, 78-year-old Ed Martin, in December of last year, as well as for assaulting and tying up Martin’s wife Helen the week before coming to Missoula and killing Keehner.