May 30, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff WriterOne of the five suspects charged in the Hudson double homicide in November is agreeing to a lower prison sentence in exchange for cooperation in future court proceedings that involve her co-defendants.
According to a plea agreement filed Tuesday in Lander's 9th District Court, Samantha June Hanway, 20, of Ethete, will plead guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder with other charges against her dismissed.
The prosecution is expected to file a new list of amended charges against her, but as of noon Wednesday, the document had not been filed.
In March, Hanway was arrested and 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.
Aiding and abetting second-degree murder is a felony that carries a prison sentence of between 20 years and life. If the court accepts the agreement, Hanway will face a maximum of between 25 and 50 years in prison.
Under the agreement, Hanway would be required to give a complete and factual account about what happened during the Nov. 15 robbery and killings of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and his girlfriend, Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20.
She would also have to disclose the events surrounding the subsequent house fire Nov. 17 that investigators say was set in an attempt to cover up the murders.
If the deal is accepted, Hanway would testify at hearings or trials related to any co-defendants in the case or any other proceeding required of her.
Her four co-defendants are her brother, Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., 19, of Ethete; her husband, Joseph Jude Jenkins, 20, of Arapahoe; her cousin Ryan Blake Hanway, 22, of Riverton; and Jude Blackburn, 15, of Riverton.
Under the plea deal, Samantha Hanway agrees to be sentenced after the court's final determinations for the other four defendants in the case.
If she stops cooperating at any time before sentencing, the deal will be voided and she will not be allowed to withdraw her plea.
If the court rejects the agreement, she will be allowed to withdraw her plea and the state will be able to proceed with the prosecution of all charges.
Hanway is currently at the Fremont County Detention Center in Lander on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
In April, she appeared at a preliminary hearing where Riverton Circuit Judge Wesley Roberts bound over the original charges to District Court.
During the hearing, prosecutors argued the crimes stemmed from Samantha Hanway and her husband needing money because they were on the verge of being evicted.
She and Ryan Hanway are due back in court in July for arraignment. Laziur Hanway Jr. and Joseph Jenkins are expected in court next week for a concurrent preliminary hearing.
On Wednesday, defense attorneys for Blackburn filed two subpoenas to help in their request to transfer their client's proceedings to juvenile court.
One of the documents requires the Fremont County School District 38 superintendent of schools at Arapahoe to produce Blackburn's academic records such as grades, disciplinary files and counselor notes from elementary school through Arapaho Charter High School.
The second subpoena is for all Northern Arapaho family services program case files pertaining to Blackburn, including investigative files relating to abuse and neglect allegations against the teen's guardians.
In April, Blackburn's attorneys filed a motion to transfer the case and to hold a private hearing to review the request.
Blackburn faces a count of first-degree arson and two counts each of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
In the motion, Blackburn's attorneys cite his age and the likelihood for rehabilitation as some of the reasons for the transfer to juvenile court.
On May 22, Defense counsel filed a waiver of speedy juvenile transfer hearing document. Ninth District Judge Marvin L. Tyler, who is presiding over the matter, has not decided on the motion.
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