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Suspects bound over in hammer assault
Defendant Delight Sunrhodes, above, talked to her public defender, Devon Petersen, during her preliminary hearing Wednesday in Riverton Circuit Court. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

Suspects bound over in hammer assault

Mar 19, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A brother and sister face second-degree murder charges, and a third suspect is charged with accessory before the fact.

A judge at a hearing Wednesday bound over second-degree murder charges against two siblings from Arapahoe and one charge of accessory before the fact against an Ethete man in connection with the March 7 death of a Riverton man.

Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts took an hour and a half to deliberate on binding over the third suspect.

"This one causes me to pause a little more. I want to think through those things while I decide whether to bind him over," Roberts said, referring to evidence against Craig Brian C'Bearing, 27, of Ethete.

All three cases are related to the death of Richard Longsoldier.

The siblings are George Jr. Littlethunder III, 29, and Delight Estelle Sunrhodes, 30. With their cases bound over, the three will next have an arraignment in District Court, but a date for the hearings has not been set.

"Rarely would you have so much corroboration with pieces of evidence coming together so quickly," said Fremont County deputy attorney Ember Oakley.

Prosecutors think Sunrhodes and Littlethunder used the claw end of a framing hammer to bludgeon Longsoldier to death in a bedroom in Longsoldier's trailer in the Cozy Home Trailer Park in Riverton. C'Bearing, prosecutors think, started a fight with Longsoldier that the other defendants joined, and C'Bearing provided the hammer the other two used.

Roberts seemed to agree with Oakley regarding Sunrhodes and Littlethunder as the judge announced he would bind them over minutes after lawyers for all sides finished their summary arguments. He was less sure about the evidence against C'Bearing.

C'Bearing's public defender, Terri Smith, argued the evidence against her client was weak.

"Mr. C'Bearing was basically at the wrong place at the wrong time," Smith said. "His statement that he might have given the hammer was one of confusion."

Fremont County sheriff's detective John Zerga testified he interviewed C'Bearing the night of his arrest while the defendant was drunk. C'Bearing denied handling the hammer, but Zerga told C'Bearing that investigators found his DNA on the tool, Zerga said. Then the defendant said he "might have" given it to Sunrhodes, Zerga said.

Smith stressed that her client was not thinking clearly at the time and was not sure about his involvement with the hammer.

Smith also said investigators found no blood on her client's clothes or body when they arrested him, apart from some blood coming out of his ears. When he was arrested, he was covered in bleach, she said.

Earlier, Zerga stated they found blood on Sunrhodes and Littlethunder and the siblings poured bleach and Ajax cleaner on C'Bearing and Longsoldier in an attempt to destroy blood stains or because they thought the chemicals were flammable.

"He was covered in bleach from head to toe like they were going to light the match and burn him too," Smith said.

Roberts said he would review his notes before making a decision on C'Bearing's case.

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