By Alan Sorensen
Security was tight as motions on behalf of two of three Havre murder suspects were heard in 12th Judicial District Court Wednesday. As many as six Hill County deputies were positioned throughout the courtroom for the omnibus hearing that lasted most of the day.
District Court Judge John Warner set a trial date for one of the suspects and denied a motion to suppress evidence in the case against another during the hearing. He took another motion under advisement.
About a dozen people were on hand to witness the proceedings when they began at 9:30 a.m. The audience grew to about 20 as people who testified during the hearing were allowed to join the gallery.
The trial of 18-year-old Reid Danell, the man accused of shooting two Havre residents to death in September, was rescheduled from April 10 to May 22 at 9 a.m., according to court documents. District Court Judge John Warner denied a prosecution motion to hold a single trial for Danell and his co-defendants Jacob and Francine Spang.
Warner said he would consider a prosecution motion to try the Spangs and rule on it later. He vacated the April 24 date for their trial. He added that should he decide that the brother and sister should be tried separately, Jacob, 18, would be tried first, and Francine, 16, would be tried later.
Defense attorneys for the three suspects are: Thomas Sheehy, Big Sandy, and Stephen Gannon, Havre, representing Francine Spang; Carl White, Havre, and Edmund Sheehy, Helena, representing Jacob Spang; and Francis McCarvel, Glasgow, and Robert Peterson, Havre, representing Danell.
Prosecuting attorneys are Hill County Attorney David Rice, Deputy Hill County Attorney Aileen Miller and Assistant Montana Attorney General Joe Thaggard of the Missoula office.
Thaggard told the court that work at the state crime lab is still backed up after the lab moved into its new building last month. He said some of the evidence sent to the Missoula facility has been processed and that more evidence has yet to be tested.
Judge Warner scheduled the omnibus hearing to hear motions in the case against Jacob Spang for March 23.