Gavin Sutherland was charged on Wednesday in Federal District Court with second-degree murder for the death of Shannon Dora Licht, FBI spokesperson Douglas Davis said.
The Havre Herald reported Davis stated in an email that Sutherland was already in custody in Great Falls on other charges. A detainer for Sutherland was filed with the local jail.
Sutherland’s arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in Federal District Court in Great Falls at 1:30 p.m.
The investigation into Licht’s murder began after her body was found on Rocky Boy Indian’s Reservation on July 7.
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 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.
Sutherland has a criminal endangerment offense from 2011 and a theft offense from 2009, both in Cascade County.
(July 9, 2018) The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Rocky Boy’s Tribal Police are investigating a possible murder on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, according to the Havre Herald.
“The FBI and the Rocky Boy’s Tribal Police are investigating what appears to be the homicide of an adult female,” FBI Public Affairs Specialist Sandra Yi Barker said.
Barker wrote that the body was found on July 7 in Box Elder and that there is no threat to public safety at this time.
“Because of the ongoing nature of the investigation, no further information will be provided at this time,” Barker said.
Officials have not released any names in connection with this investigation.