NewsCrime and Courts


Sutherland to plead guilty to Rocky Boy woman’s murder

Posted at 3:30 PM, Apr 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 19:45:52-04

GREAT FALLS – Gavin Sutherland, the man accused of murdering a woman in Box Elder last year, plans to plead guilty to a second-degree murder charge.

Court documents filed Thursday show Sutherland intends to enter a guilty plea during a hearing scheduled for May 7.

The investigation into the murder of Shannon Dora Licht began after her body was found on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation on July 7, 2018.

Court documents state investigators conducted numerous interviews with witnesses who placed Sutherland at the victim’s house on the night she died.

Sutherland left the Rocky Boy’s Reservation for Spokane, Washington the morning after the murder and could not be initially located for a statement or DNA sample, according to court documents.

He was arrested on unrelated local warrants in September and extradited to Montana and agreed to speak with investigators while in custody at the Cascade County Detention Center.

In an interview with investigators, Sutherland said he choked the victim, according to court documents.

He faces a maximum punishment of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release.

His change of plea hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. on May 7 in Great Falls.

Sutherland has a criminal endangerment offense from 2011 and a theft offense from 2009, both in Cascade County.