By Martin J. Kidston
Murder suspect Jacob Spang, 18, was arraigned in 12th Judicial District Court today, where he entered a plea of innocent several felony counts, including two counts of felony murder.
Judge John Warner told Spang he was charged with two counts of felony murder, two counts of intimidation by accountability, and felony theft of a vehicle.
Spang pleaded not guilty to all counts, at which time his defense attorney, Carl White, motioned the court to permit a psychiatric evaluation of his client. The court approved the request.
Reid Danell, also 18, was scheduled to face his arraignment following Spangs. However, his defense attorneys Robert Peterson and Francis McCarvel asked that Danell undergo a psychiatric evaluation before he enters a plea.
Spang will be evaluated by Missoula psychiatrist, Dr. William Stratford.
Spang and Danell are both charged with the murder of Christi Walker, 30, and Kevin Caplette, 30, on the morning of Sept. 16.
While Spangs psychiatric evaluation is conducted, Deputy County Prosecutor Aileen Miller told the court that the state crime lab will continue analyzing the evidence against Spang. Miller said the lab, located in Missoula, will need an additional 60 days to study the evidence and return the results.
Some of that evidence may be completed before 60 days, Miller later said. We will be reviewing the evidence as it comes in.
Spangs attorney asked the court for an additional 30 days after the final results of the evidence are returned in order to prepare his clients case. The court agreed, and set an omnibus hearing for Jan. 13, 2000, at 9 a.m. Spang will continue to be held without bail pending a motion by his defense.
McCarvel said he has arranged for Billings psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Rich to evaluate his client, Danell. The evaluation could cost $200 an hour or $2,000 a day. The evaluation is expected to last three days.
Judge Warner had concerns over the cost of the evaluation, which will be conducted at the tax payers expense.
We dont expect Dr. Rich to work for nothing, Warner said, but I cant expect the taxpayers to foot that kind of rate.
McCarvel said he would see if Dr. Rich would lower his rate in the case. The evaluation will be conducted in two to four weeks. Danells arraignment was rescheduled for Nov. 17 at 9 a.m. following the exam.
Witnesses said that the night of the murder Walker had been frantically trying to acquire $800 during the course of a party she was hosting at 1231 6th Street in Havre. Some time after 3:30 that morning, Danell, Spang, and Spangs 15 year-old sister, Francine, showed up at Walkers residence.
Danell later admitted to holding a rifle on Caplette while demanding money and keys to a car. When Caplette denied Danell his request, Danell shot Caplette while Jacob Spang, Francine Spang and Walker watched. Danell then followed Walker into a bedroom, where he demanded money. Walker allegedly gave Danell money before he shot her to death.
Danell, Jacob Spang and Francine Spang then stole a vehicle and fled the scene. Danell and Jacob Spang were arrested in Great Falls on Sept. 17.
Approximately 25 people were on hand for the arraignment, including Spangs family. The courtroom was quiet as Spang entered a plea of not guilty. Spang, clad in prison orange, often waved and smiled to his family, while Danell sat quiet and showed little emotion.
After the arraignment, Spangs mother was questioned but denied comment. However, Spangs grandmother said the family was hoping for the best.