Apr 26, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff WriterInvestigators say the double homicide, robbery and arson in Hudson last November stemmed from two of the suspects needing money because they were on the verge of being evicted.
The revelation was made during the latest court proceedings in the killings of Eric Likes and his girlfriend, Elva Quiver.
On Wednesday, two more defendants in the case were bound over to a higher court during separate preliminary hearings at Riverton Circuit Court.
Ryan Blake Hanway, 22, will proceed to Lander's 9th District Court on two first-degree murder charges and a count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
The Riverton man originally was charged with conspiracy, but prosecutors filed amended information March 21 that removed the conspiracy component to the first-degree murder charges.
Long list of charges
His cousin, Samantha June Hanway, 20, of Ethete, also appeared in court before Judge Wesley Roberts on Wednesday.
Samantha Hanway is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson, and two counts of aggravated robbery.
Two of the first-degree murder charges allege Samantha Hanway purposely and with premeditated malice killed and/or aided and abetted in the killings of Likes. 42, and Quiver, 20.
The other two murder charges allege she killed the couple and/or aided and abetted in the deaths in the perpetration of a robbery.
Seven of the nine charges had language stating she was directly involved and/or aided and abetted in the crimes.
But her public defender, Kathleen Hart Tilton, of Lander, argued Samantha Hanway was not a principal participant in the crimes.
While rendering his decision, Roberts said he would bind over charges against Samantha Hanway as an "aider and abetter" and not as the principal actor.
The cousins are among five defendants accused in the Nov. 15 murders and robbery and subsequent Nov. 17 fire that officials say was set in an attempt to cover up the killings.
More to come
Co-defendant Jude Blackburn, 15, of Riverton, will be arraigned next month in Lander's 9th District Court on nine felonies including first-degree murder, arson, and aggravated robbery and conspiracy charges.
Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., 19, of Ethete, and Joseph Jude Jenkins, 20, of Arapahoe, are due in court for preliminary hearings next week. Both face numerous charges including first-degree murder, arson and aggravated robbery.
The two are Samantha Hanway's brother and husband, respectively.
According to investigators, Quiver and Likes were murdered at their home Nov. 15, at least two days after some of the defendants allegedly scoped out the couple's house in an attempt to rob them.
Police found the two bodies inside their charred trailer house Nov. 17.
At first, investigators believed the couple died in the fire, but autopsies determined the two were stabbed to death and that Likes suffered blunt-force trauma to his head.
It wasn't until March that police made their first arrest in the case. Laziur Hanway Jr. was arrested March 8 after DNA testing revealed his blood was found at the scene.
Prosecutors allege Ryan Hanway killed and/or aided and abetted in the killings of Likes and Quiver in the perpetration of a robbery.
It's also alleged Ryan Hanway, on or between Nov. 10 and Nov. 17, agreed with one or more co-defendants that some of them would commit the crime of aggravated robbery and one or more of them committed an "overt act" to carry out the objective of the agreement.
According to testimony given by Fremont County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. William Braddock on Wednesday, Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. contacted Ryan Hanway on or before Nov. 13 about joining them in robbing and "roughing up" Likes.
Braddock said Likes was targeted because Jenkins thought Likes was a jerk and knew he had money.
"Mr. Likes had flashed a large amount of cash," Braddock said.
Samantha Hanway was pregnant at the time, Braddock said, and she and Jenkins needed money because they were about to be evicted.
Braddock said Jenkins told police Ryan Hanway agreed to the plan and wanted to go to Hudson, and that on Nov. 13, Ryan Hanway, Samantha Hanway, Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. took a car to Hudson to scope out the scene. There were conflicting statements concerning who owned the vehicle.
Braddock said Ryan Hanway coached the others on what to do, telling them to use guns but no cell phones and not to look directly into any cameras in the area.
Braddock said Samantha Hanway told officers that Ryan Hanway had said Nov.13 would not be a good night to rob the couple because he did not have his gun.
To Braddock's knowledge, Ryan Hanway did not participate in the events of Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, but he said Samantha Hanway said there were attempts to contact him.
Ryan Hanway's public defender, John DeLeon, of Rawlins, argued that the scoping out his client was involved in was spontaneous and without a clear plan.
DeLeon said the actual robbery and murders Nov. 15 were not a follow-up to the events of Nov. 13 but rather a new decision made by the others.
DeLeon said Ryan Hanway chose not to participate Nov. 15.
Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn said Ryan Hanway was not with the others Nov. 15 because they could not make contact with him, not because he didn't want to be.
Varn said Ryan Hanway gave the others guidance when he ran into them at the 789 Smoke Shop on Nov. 17, advising them to return to the scene because the murders had not yet been discovered.
Varn said Ryan Hanway was involved by means of coaching, and that physical involvement was unnecessary for it be conspiracy.
"They conspired to rob, there's no doubt about that," he said.
Braddock told the court that police learned of Ryan Hanway's involvement in interviews with Samantha Hanway and Jenkins. It was also learned then that Blackburn was involved.
Braddock said during interviews with Ryan Hanway, Hanway admitted he was in Hudson on Nov. 13 "looking the place over."
Braddock testified that Ryan Hanway believed that because he didn't participate in the actual crimes, "no one would say anything about him."
"He just didn't think they'd give his name up," Braddock said.
He also told the court Ryan Hanway thought that if he didn't participate, the others would "let it go."
FBI special agent Paul Swenson took the stand during Samantha Hanway's hearing.
Swenson said Jenkins told him that he and his wife were in financial trouble.
"They were frustrated and didn't know what to do," Swenson told the court.
Swenson said at first Samantha Hanway told him the group went to Hudson to sell marijuana to Likes.
It's believed Samantha Hanway was the driver in all three trips to Hudson.
Swenson testified that Samantha Hanway told him the Nov. 15 event was pre-arranged. She had thought about going to bed that evening, he said, but instead went a few trailers down from her home in Riverton to where her father was staying.
Swenson said Laziur Hanway Sr. was intoxicated so Samantha Hanway took his work truck.
During Ryan Hanway's preliminary hearing, Braddock said Samantha Hanway was also upset with Jenkins because he had consumed two fifths of Captain Morgan rum.
Swenson said Samantha Hanway and Jenkins picked up Laziur Hanway Jr. and Blackburn and she drove them to Hudson. At the scene, she and Blackburn remained in the truck while the other two walked back and forth to scope out the trailer.
'Rough them up'
According to Swenson, Samantha Hanway believed the plan was to "rough them up and rob them."
Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. were having a hard time figuring out how to get inside the trailer, Swenson said. He said Samantha Hanway recalled them talking about pretending to be stranded and needing help from Likes.
She told Swenson that while she shared a cigarette with Blackburn in the truck, she heard the other two talking about murdering Likes and Quiver.
She reportedly told them they shouldn't do it.
After the murders, Swenson said Samantha Hanway went inside the trailer to try to get her brother and husband out. The two men were in the back bedroom at the time.
She told Swenson she saw blood in the kitchen and the hallway and that Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. "looked scared." It's believed the two stabbed the victims.
Blackburn entered the trailer house either before or at the same time as Samantha Hanway.
Swenson said when Samantha Hanway was inside the trailer she was told by Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. that Blackburn had "finished off" Likes with a dresser drawer.
Samantha Hanway reportedly told Swenson that the group started looking for loot. It's believed they stole at least two rings, coins, a silverware set, marijuana and three power saws, which Swenson believed Likes used in his work as a stone mason.
Swenson said Samantha Hanway told him there were efforts made Nov. 15 to destroy the evidence, specifically three attempts to start a fire. But there was fear of detection and the group left.
Samantha Hanway drove the others and the stolen items back to Riverton, Swenson said.
Swenson said that on Nov. 17, after the three had run into Ryan Hanway and he told them to return to the scene, Samantha Hanway, her brother and husband drove to Lander and purchased gasoline.
Back at the scene, Swenson said Samantha Hanway told the two men that if they were going to do this "to do it right and do it good."
Samantha Hanway remained in the vehicle, which was parked in the alley, as Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. entered the trailer. About five minutes later, she heard a loud pop and the two started running toward the vehicle.
Swenson said Laziur Hanway Jr. got inside the vehicle, but Jenkins had trouble. He said Samantha Hanway hit Jenkins with the vehicle before stopping to let him get in.
The three returned to Riverton, Swenson said.
Swenson said when Samantha Hanway was questioned about the events, she denied being involved.
"She made the comment that she never dipped her hands in blood," Swenson testified.
Varn said Samantha Hanway knew about the plan and aided and abetted the others.
"She drove them there, she drove them away," he said, adding that she did "absolutely nothing" when the plan escalated to murder.
Hart Tilton contended there was no evidence that Samantha Hanway was involved in the crimes nor that she knew about the plan.
"She did not inflict any injuries," Hart Tilton said.
"In her own words, she participated by driving," he said.
Get your copy of The Ranger online, every day! If you are a current print subscriber and want to also access dailyranger.com online (there is nothing more to purchase) including being able to download The Mining and Energy Edition, click here. Looking to start a new online subscription to dailyranger.com (even if it is for just one day)? Access our secure SSL encrypted server and start your subscription now by clicking here.