By Alan Sorensen
Francine Spang, 15, appeared in 12th Judicial District Court Wednesday afternoon with her attorneys to argue against being tried as an adult for her alleged part in a double homicide in Havre last fall.
FSpang is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide, two counts of intimidation by accountability, theft and tampering with evidence in the shooting deaths of Kristi Walker, 30, and Kevin Caplette, 35. They were found shot to death at a home in the 1200 block of Sixth Street shortly before 1 p.m. on Sept. 16.
FSpang pleaded innocent in October to each of the charges.
FHill County prosecutors had previously petitioned the court to have Spang tried under "extended jurisdiction." Deputy Hill County Attorney Aileen Miller explained earlier that under extended jurisdiction, if Spang were convicted, she would receive a judgment with alternative provisions. Adult and juvenile sentences could be imposed with the adult sentence suspended. The suspension could be revoked at anytime due to further violations and the adult sentence imposed.
FThe hearing Wednesday was intended to hear that and another petition to try Spang as an adult on the two murder charges.
FHill County Attorney David Rice said he decided early in the hearing Wednesday to petition the court to try Spang as an adult on all five charges.
FSpang is accused of being with her brother, Jacob Spang, and Reid Danell, both 18, when Danell allegedly shot Walker and Caplette over a drug debt. Spang is accused of fleeing with the pair in a stolen car, and helping clean up blood and wipe fingerprints from the car when it was abandoned at Rocky Boy.
FDr. William Taylor of Great Falls testified that Spang was a model prisoner while in youth detention at Great Falls and is doing well in chemical dependency treatment at Rocky Mountain Treatment in Billings. He said she is a year or two below her educational level and needs intensive educational therapy as well as treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
FRice and defense attorneys Thomas Sheehy and Stephen Gannon also quizzed Havre Police Sgt. George Tate, Juvenile Probation Officer Robert Peake, and Jennifer Bosley of the Juvenile Detention Center in Great Falls about whether Spang should be charged as an adult or juvenile.
District Court Judge John Warner also had a few questions of his own during the 3-hour hearing.
FWarner adjourned the hearing at about 5:30 p.m. He will take further arguments until Jan. 21 and make a written ruling on the motion to try Spang as an adult on all five counts sometime later.
FIn what law enforcement officers say is an unrelated case, the body of Spang's brother, Westy Sean Spang, 20, was found near the family home on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation Feb. 4, 1999.
FFBI agents at the time said that one suspect had been taken into custody. FBI agents have since refused comment on the case.
FIn a recent telephone interview, Assistant U.S. Attorney Laurie Harper-Suek of Great Falls also refused to comment on that murder case. She said it was covered by the Juvenile Delinquent Act and that she was forbidden by that law from say whether or not a suspect was in custody.