Montana man sentenced to life for murder of Native woman
United States Department of Justice
A Busby, Montana, man convicted of first degree murder in the 2016 death of a woman, who was beaten, strangled, lit on fire and left to die in a field, was sentenced to life in prison on December 21 in federal court, while two co-defendants also received prison terms for their roles in the crime, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
Dimarzio Swade Sanchez, 21, was sentenced to mandatory life in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,276.72 restitution. A jury convicted Dimarzio Sanchez on Dec. 4, 2017 of first degree murder/aiding and abetting murder.
Angelica Jo Whiteman, 26, of Lame Deer, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,276.72 restitution. Whiteman pleaded guilty in August 2017 to aiding and abetting first degree murder.
Frank James Sanchez, 21, of Lame Deer, was sentenced to nine in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $14,276.72 restitution. Frank Sanchez pleaded guilty in March 2017 to accessory after the fact and to misprision of a felony.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided at the sentencing hearings.
Dimarzio Sanchez, his brother, Frank Sanchez, and Whiteman were charged in the death of the victim, who died on June 28, 2016 in a Utah hospital where she was flown for treatment after being attacked on April 17, 2016.
“This was an extraordinarily heinous crime. Our condolences go out to the victim’s family, friends and the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Alme. “The Department of Justice is committed to fighting and reducing the significant levels of violence against women in Indian Country. Today’s sentences reflect the seriousness of the crime and will protect the community from future harm by these individuals.”
“I would like to thank Deputy Criminal Chief Lori Suek, former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sullivan, the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs agents, the victim specialists and other staff of the FBI, BIA and U.S. Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this case,” Alme said.
During the four-day jury trial of Dimarzio Sanchez, the government presented evidence that Dimarzio Sanchez, the two co-defendants and others picked up the victim at the Kirby Saloon on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation on April 17, 2016 and offered to give her a ride to her Crow Agency home. The defendants and victim had not met until that night.
The group stopped at a residence, where one of the individuals remained while the rest of the group headed toward Crow Agency. Along the way, a fight erupted between Whiteman and the victim. Dimarzio Sanchez, the driver, drove to Castle Rock Road, a dirt road off of Highway 212 on the Crow Indian Reservation, and parked.
The entire group initially got out and the assault on the victim continued. At one point, Dimarzio Sanchez showed Whiteman how to strangle the victim using a bandana, and Whiteman strangled her.
Frank Sanchez retrieved a gas can from the trunk of the car. Dimarzio Sanchez poured gasoline onto the victim and set her on fire. Dimarzio Sanchez and the rest of the group left the area. The victim remained in the field for about 14 hours until a motorist found her and called for help, prompting the start of the investigation. The victim ultimately was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital where she died.
Frank Sanchez was present and witnessed the assault but failed to notify authorities. He lied to law enforcement about his knowledge of the crime when he was first interviewed by denying he was present and giving investigators a false alibi. When re-interviewed almost two weeks later, Frank Sanchez provided a truthful account. In addition, Frank Sanchez failed to turn over to law enforcement the victim’s jeans, which Dimarzio Sanchez had given to him and another person.
Deputy Criminal Chief Lori Suek and former Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sullivan prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs.