A Sidney woman charged with deliberate homicide and aggravated assault after police found her 2-month-old baby dead in her home has reached a plea deal.
Hinds was set for a jury trial in late January, but sentencing will now take place in March. The trial will be without a jury, per the plea deal, said Sidney County Attorney Janet Christoffersen.
The no contest plea means Hinds does not accept guilt but will accept punishment. Christoffersen specified the plea was stipulated because Hinds had no memory of the event, she was reportedly in a meth psychosis at the time.
"She's reviewed it and agrees she's responsible but just doesn't have that recollection, she said.
In March, Hinds was accused of killing her 2-month-old daughter after Sidney police officers responded to a welfare check called in by the father of the child.
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Officers found the baby unresponsive in the apartment. The child had died of multiple stab wounds. A relative of Hinds was also found in the apartment with a stab wound.
Christoffersen agreed to make a sentencing recommendation of 100 years with 20 years suspended for the homicide, and 20 years for charge of assault with a weapon, running concurrently.
She will not be eligible for parole for 30 years, Christoffersen said. Defense will make a recommendation as well.
General assignment reporter Juliana Sukut's favorite stories of 2019
Billings Gazette reporter Juliana Sukut shares her five most memorable stories of 2019.
It was difficult to choose just five. In the end I decided on the people—not the stories—that left an impression on me.
• I met a man whose dad died in a home explosion. After publication he said telling his story to a reporter helped him find some closure.
• I got the sheer joy of meeting one of the most entertaining group of people in Billings. Reporting on Billings' drag queens is the most fun I’ve ever had at work. Period. If you haven’t caught one of the drag shows—please go, they’re worth it.
• I visited Gardiner to learn about a housing shortage there. It’s an issue most of the state faces, but the town acts as a microcosm for Montana. The passionate people of Gardiner made this story fun to report and write.
• On Labor Day I followed a family who was still searching for a missing loved one. They welcomed me with kindness. Hub Williamson is still missing. Christmas marked his 260th day absent from home.
• In November five men who were sexually abused while Boy Scouts told their stories. Decades later the abuse still haunts each man.
To everyone who gave me the trust to tell their story. Thank you.
January will be the anniversary of my first year at The Billings Gazette. I’m looking forward to everyone I get to meet next year.
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