The second suspect in the death last year of a Lame Deer woman denied murder charges in U.S. District Court in Billings on Friday.
Eugenia Ann Rowland, 41, of Pine Ridge, S.D., pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging her with second-degree murder in the July 4, 2013, death of Hanna Harris, 21.
Rowland arrived at the Yellowstone County jail on Thursday after being arrested in Rapid City on March 26 and extradited after an initial court appearance in the case.
Eleven members of Harris' family were in the courtroom for Rowland's appearance.
Rowland’s co-defendant, Garrett Sidney Henderson Wadda, 44, a transient with family in Montana and Wyoming, pleaded not guilty on April 2 to first-degree murder and to aggravated sexual abuse. First-degree murder is killing with premeditation or while committing another crime. Wadda was arrested in Wyoming on March 26.
Wadda and Rowland are accused of murdering Harris, who went missing July 4 and was found dead several days later near the town’s rodeo grounds. The indictment does not provide details on the circumstances of Harris’ death.
Harris was a single mother who graduated from Billings West High School in 2010 and had a 10-month-old son when she died.
Wadda is accused of killing Harris with “malice aforethought” while forcing the victim to engage in a sexual act. Wadda faces mandatory life in prison and a possible $250,000 fine on the murder count. A jury trial for Wadda is set for May 27.
Rowland is accused of second-degree murder, which is killing with malice aforethought but does not include premeditation. If convicted, Rowland faces a maximum of life in prison and a possible $250,000 fine.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby ordered Rowland to remain in custody pending trial. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Susan Watters.
Ostby appointed Mark Werner, a deputy federal defender for the District of Montana, to represent Ostby during Friday's proceedings. Another attorney will be appointed at a later date.
After Rowland's brief appearance, the Harris family gathered outside the courtroom for hugs, tears and support.
Harris' grandmother, Clara Harris, 62, of Lame Deer, said she wanted Rowland to look at the family during her brief court appearance, but Rowland never did.
"This has been really overwhelming," Harris said. "They took someone very dear away. They took her away from a nursing baby."
"It's hard to lose someone you love, especially when it's just like that," she added, snapping her fingers. "It never entered my mind that she might have been sexually abused. That was a real shock to us."
Harris said she has been praying since her granddaughter's body was discovered days after her July 4 disappearance that "whoever did this to Hanna would come forward."
"We've got a long road ahead of us with these trials," she said, "but I thank God the trials are finally here and that justice will be done."
However, she said, "I don't know if there ever will be closure."