Death Penalty Sought in Montana Teacher’s Killing
Prosecutors filed murder charges Friday and said they intend to seek the death penalty against two men accused of kidnapping a Montana teacher whose body was buried in a shallow grave discovered after two months of searching.
Lester Van Waters Jr., 48, and Michael Keith Spell, 22, are accused of grabbing Sherry Arnold off a street in Sidney, Mont., as she was on a morning run Jan. 7.
Waters and Spell, two men from Parachute, Colo., who had arrived looking for work in oil fields, were arrested about a week after Arnold’s disappearance and originally charged with aggravated kidnapping. An amended complaint filed by Richland County prosecutor Mike Weber on Friday charges each with one count of deliberate homicide and one count of attempted kidnapping.
An affidavit filed in the case includes an alleged jailhouse confession by Spell that he choked Arnold and then held her face underwater to make sure she was dead.
Prosecutors allege that Spell told another inmate he and Waters were high on drugs at the time and suggested the kidnapping came about because “Waters wanted to have sex.”
Previous court documents included claims by Spell that Waters had choked the victim.