News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Hudson murder suspect gives details of crimes
Sep 21, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
Samantha June Hanway really didn't know Eric Likes and his girlfriend, Elva Quiver.
"They were my dad's friends," she said.
That connection didn't stop the Ethete woman from taking part in a convoluted series of events that began with a robbery plot and ended with the stabbing death of the couple whose bodies and homes were later set ablaze.
Flanked by her public defenders, Kathleen Hart Tilton of Lander and Sarah Miles of Cody, Hanway sat still and kept her head forward as she detailed the killings of Likes and Quiver and the subsequent robbery and arson in November at the couple's trailer home in Hudson.
The revelations made Thursday came after Hanway plead guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement. If it is accepted, the plea agreement would dismiss Hanway's other charges and place her behind bars for 25 to 50 years. Providing a factual account of the crimes was a requirement of Hanway's agreement.
A sentencing hearing will be set for a later date.
District Court Judge Norman E. Young's first questions focused on Hanway herself.
Her education ended at the 10th-grade level. She was working on her GED when authorities arrested her in March.
Hanway, 21, said she is married to co-defendant Joseph Jude Jenkins, 20, of Arapahoe, and they have an 8-month-old son who is being cared for by family in Montana.
Hanway also is pregnant.
The last time she had a job was in October, when she worked at a Maverik gas station. Before that, she worked at Morning Star Care Center in Fort Washakie, but she said she had to quit when she relocated to the Riverton area.
Details about the crimes
The bodies of Likes, 42, and Quiver, 20, were discovered in the couple's trailer house in Hudson after firefighters extinguished flames that consumed the home Nov. 17.
Autopsies concluded they had died as the result of, but not limited to, numerous stab wounds.
About two dozen people, including family members of both of the victims, sat quietly in the Lander courtroom as Hanway recalled details about the two evenings the crimes occurred.
Her responses to Young's questions were often filled with emotion.
During the 45-minute hearing, Young never asked about events that took place a few nights before the murders, when authorities say Hanway and co-defendants -- Ryan Blake Hanway, 22, of Riverton; Jenkins; and brother Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., 19, of Ethete -- went to Hudson and scoped out the trailer they intended to rob.
Samantha Hanway's testimony focused on the night of the Nov. 15 murders and Nov. 17, when some of the group returned to the scene and doused the trailer and bodies with gasoline.
Samantha Hanway told Young that she, Jenkins, Laziur Hanway Jr. and the fifth defendant, Jude Blackburn, 16, of Riverton, drove a pickup truck to Likes' residence Nov. 15.
"We discussed it and then, um, we were gonna, our first plan was just to rob him ... Eric," Hanway said. "Rough him up and take his money."
"Whose idea was it?" Young asked.
"It was my idea," she responded.
"It was your idea?" Young asked.
"Mine and Joe's," she said.
Samantha Hanway said new plans developed after the group got to the trailer. She wasn't sure who changed the plan, but she said she remembered Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. coming back to her and Blackburn in the truck and saying their intentions were going to be murder.
"And I didn't drive away," she said.
Laziur Hanway Jr. and Jenkins returned to the truck a couple of times, she continued, once after failing to sneak into the trailer through a window. Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. then decided to tell Likes a story about being stranded so they would be welcomed inside.
Samantha Hanway said she and Blackburn waited in the truck for a while, until Blackburn went to a trailer window to check on the others. She said Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. told Blackburn to drive with her to Blackburn's grandmother's house and return in 30 minutes. Samantha Hanway said she and Blackburn complied with the request.
Upon their return to the trailer, Samantha Hanway said Blackburn entered the house while she waited in the truck. When Blackburn returned, she said he told her Jenkins wanted her inside. She told Young she figured the couple was dead at this point.
Samantha Hanway said she didn't see anything as she entered the living room.
"I was looking at the wall," she said.
Then, she said, she saw Likes.
"He appeared to be dead to me," she said with a soft voice.
Young asked about Quiver.
"I glanced to my right, and she was in her bedroom," Samantha Hanway said.
"Did she appear to be dead as well?" Young asked.
"Yes," she replied.
Young asked about property taken from the home. Samantha Hanway said the group couldn't find money, but they located other items, including saws.
"They took some of the rings," she said, before correcting herself. "We took some of the rings."
Back to the scene
Samantha Hanway said it was her idea to return to the scene two days later to see if the bodies had been discovered. She said she shared the thought with her husband and brother.
"I had an idea it would be good to blow it up ... if it was undiscovered," she said.
The trio drove to Lander, she said, and she purchased gasoline.
"We went to the trailer. I parked on this long dirt road," Samantha Hanway said.
After Jenkins and Laziur Hanway Jr. checked out the trailer, she said they returned to the truck, and she drove them closer to the trailer, backing up into the adjacent alley.
The two men entered the house and came back out.
"I drove off as fast as I could," Samantha Hanway said.
Before wrapping up his questions, Young went back to the night of the murders.
"Do you know who stabbed Likes or Quiver?" he asked.
"No," she said. "They didn't go into too much detail."