BILLINGS – The Busby man convicted in December of the 2016 murder of a Crow Agency woman is requesting a new trial, citing the recent charges against the psychologist who testified on his behalf and the apparent existence of cell phone text messages related to the case.
Dimarzio Sanchez, 20, was found guilty at trial in U.S. District Court in Billings of first degree murder for the death of Roylynn Rideshorse.
Rideshorse was beaten and burned alive in April of 2016.
Prosecutors told jurors that two co-defendants, Angelica Whiteman and Frank Sanchez, participated in the murder but they argued that Sanchez was the ringleader.
Defense attorneys for Dimarzio Sanchez said in a brief filed Friday that they only recently learned of a cell phone containing text messages about the night in question.
According to court documents, that cell phone belonged to one of the teenage girls who was present in the vehicle that night but is not believed to have harmed Rideshorse.
An investigator for the defense reported that he received information in mid-January about the cell phone after a woman called to say she had purchased a cell phone from someone for her granddaughter.
The granddaughter then sold the phone to someone else.
A relative of the person who purchased the phone found text messages on it related to the murder, according to the defense.
The cell phone was turned over to the FBI for further analysis.
The defense argues that the text messages on the phone could prove Sanchez’s innocence and warrant a new trial.
Furthermore, the defense also argues that the credibility of its sole trial witness is in question because the doctor who testified was indicted on drug charges.
Dr. Teresa Hastings, who testified that Sanchez does not have the mental capacity to lead a group, is accused of stealing or illegally obtaining prescription drugs.
Defense attorneys argue that Hastings’ testimony was essential to Sanchez’ case and are concerned she may have been under the influence of drugs when she first analyzed him.
The judge has yet to rule on the request for a new trial.
Sentencing hearings for Sanchez’ co-defendants have been postponed.
Reporting by Aja Goare for MTN News
Sanchez found guilty of murdering Crow Agency woman
Prosecutors to use “dying words” of Crow Agency murder victim at trial
Crow Agency woman beaten, burned in April has died
Woman burned, dumped on Crow Reservation, authorities remain mum