Ashland resident Shane Michael Sandcrane, accused of aiding in the murder of Rosella Wooden Thigh, on Monday denied a new charge of being an accessory after the fact.
Sandcrane, 20, pleaded not guilty to the superseding indictment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby. A grand jury initially indicted him on charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, then recently added the second count.
Sandcrane is alleged to have helped Trinidad Quiroz murder Wooden Thigh, 32, on May 5 in a trailer near Ashland on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. He is accused of then helping Quiroz and co-defendant Reno James Runs Above dispose of her body by burning it and other evidence.
Prosecutors allege that the three had been drinking with Wooden Thigh and that she refused to have sex with them. Quiroz got angry and assaulted Wooden Thigh. He left the trailer, a returned a short time later with a gun and shot her in the head. Quiroz, 37, of Ashland, killed himself five days later.
Chief U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull sentenced Runs Above in November to the maximum of 15 years in prison for being an accessory after the fact. Runs Above pleaded guilty.
If convicted, Sandcrane faces a mandatory life sentence and a $250,000 fine on the murder charge and a maximum of 15 years and a $125,000 fine on the accessory count.
Sandcrane remains in custody. Cebull has been assigned to the case.