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Hudson killings were planned days ahead of time, court hears
Mar 16, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
Co-defendants involved in the Hudson double homicide said plotting of the crimes started days before they were actually committed.
Police say Samantha June Hanway, 20, of Ethete, attested that three of her alleged accomplices drove to the victims' residence to "scope out the house" one or two days before Nov. 15, the day when some of them decided to stab Eric Likes and Elva Quiver to death in an attempt to cover up a robbery at the couple's mobile home.
Samantha Hanway said she and some of the others returned to the murder scene two days later and set fire to the trailer with the bodies still inside.
Details about the deaths of Likes, 42, and his girlfriend, Quiver, 20, and subsequent robbery and arson continue to emerge with the number of arrests climbing, sitting at five as of Friday.
On Thursday, the youngest suspect appeared in Riverton Circuit Court where Judge Wesley Roberts outlined the nine felony charges the suspect faces. Among those is a first-degree murder charge.
Sniffles started almost immediately in the packed room after a tearful Jude Blackburn, 15, walked into court.
It was the largest audience since court hearings began in the case last week after the first suspect was apprehended.
Police arrested Blackburn, a former Arapaho Charter High School student, Wednesday in Riverton.
Roberts told the teen it was his understanding that prosecutors are charging him as an adult because of the "violent felonies" he faces.
Because of Blackburn's age, Roberts asked his guardian, Lydia Blackburn, to sit with him at the defense table during Thursday's hearing.
Roberts said he wanted a public defender appointed for Blackburn immediately, and noted the public defender's office was having difficulties rounding up enough people statewide to represent defendants in the case.
Blackburn faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
Roberts said because of Blackburn's age, the possibility of the death penalty is off the table, unlike the other defendants.
Fremont County deputy attorney Bob Bundy asked the court to keep Blackburn's bail at $1 million cash because of the "particularly heinous attacks" he allegedly committed.
Police arrested Riverton man Ryan Blake Hanway (Myers), 22, Thursday in Riverton on two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
He was expected to make his initial court appearance Friday.
Blackburn's and Ryan Hanway's alleged co-conspirators, Samantha Hanway and Joseph Jude Jenkins, 20, of Arapahoe, were arrested earlier this week in Fort Washakie on several charges including first-degree murder, robbery and arson.
Another alleged accomplice, Samantha Hanway's brother, Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr., 19, of Ethete, was the first arrest made in the case.
Laziur Hanway Jr. returned to court Thursday to hear four new charges filed against him.
One of his public defenders, James Whiting, of Lander, appeared by his side.
David Serelson of Cheyenne is a co-public defender for the teen.
According to amended charging documents, Laziur Hanway faces two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. He is also charged with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson and two counts of aggravated robbery.
Two of the first-degree murder charges allege he killed Likes and Quiver in the perpetration of a robbery.
A blood-spotted cigarette lighter discovered in an alley near the charred trailer house, and blood found inside Likes' truck parked at his home, eventually led authorities to Laziur Hanway.
His arrest March 8 came after police say they discovered relevant evidence inside an underground bunker on his property and inside his home on 17 Mile Road.
According to the latest charging documents, Samantha Hanway told police March 13 that Ryan Hanway was involved in the planning phase of the crimes and that he "knows what happened."
"Samantha Hanway stated that Ryan Hanway instructed the group to 'use guns, no phones, and scope the scene,'" documents state.
Jenkins told police on March 13 that one or two days before the Nov. 15 assault on the victims, he, Ryan Hanway and Laziur Hanway drove to the area of the victims' residence to "scope out the house."
Jenkins reportedly told police the trio did not make contact with Likes and Quiver at the time and later left the area.
According to documents, one or two nights before the Nov. 17 fire, Jenkins, Samantha Hanway and Laziur Hanway stole a pickup truck in Riverton and picked up Blackburn in Arapahoe en route to Hudson.
When the four arrived in Hudson, Samantha Hanway and Blackburn dropped off the other two at the victims' trailer house.
Laziur Hanway and Jenkins reportedly went to the home and asked Likes if they could use his telephone because they were stranded.
Because Likes was Laziur Hanway's former employer, he welcomed the two into his home, according to documents. Quiver reportedly was in bed by this time.
From there, it's alleged the three males chatted and shared marijuana.
Likes then invited the two to stay the night, and after showing them how to work his television, he joined Quiver in the bedroom.
At one point in the night, it's alleged that Jenkins and Laziur Hanway entered the bedroom where the couple was sleeping and started stabbing the two.
"J. Jenkins detailed the assault of the victims by himself and Hanway Jr.," documents read. "J. Jenkins stated that as the victims lay incapacitated Samantha Hanway and Jude Blackburn entered the residence."
During the interview, police say Samantha Hanway said that she and Blackburn entered the trailer house, and the 15-year-old Blackburn "finished" Likes by hitting him in the head with a dresser drawer.
Jenkins also reportedly told police he witnessed Blackburn strike Likes in the head with a drawer roughly two times while Likes lay on the hallway floor.
Samantha Hanway and Jenkins told police they both believed Blackburn took a plastic bag of marijuana that belonged to Likes from the residence.
"Samantha Hanway stated that prior to leaving the victims' residence, the group, including Blackburn, attempted to start the residence on fire," documents stated. "Samantha Hanway advised that the group started the living room couch on fire; however, the fire was extinguished due to the fear of detection."
The group then allegedly returned to Riverton to hide items stolen from the victims and to return the stolen truck.
Back to the scene
According to a sworn statement by an investigator in the case, when Samantha Hanway realized Nov. 17 that the crime was still undetected, her brother and Jenkins went to Lander to purchase gasoline, and then returned to Hudson.
There, investigators believe Samantha Hanway dropped off the two males and waited in the truck, the same truck they allegedly stole two nights before, and waited on the outskirts of town.
Laziur Hanway and Jenkins poured gasoline on the two bodies and throughout the trailer.
"They then ignited the gasoline as they exited the house, which set the entire house ablaze," documents state.
The two then met Samantha Hanway at the truck, and the three drove back to Riverton.
Firefighters responded to the fire at 9:50 p.m. and did not discover the bodies inside the burned-out trailer until 90 minutes later during the cleanup and investigation.
According to documents, investigators with the Wyoming State Fire Marshal's Office did not find money or jewelry at the scene.
"The sifting revealed no containers of coin, no jewelry or men's rings of any description, no man's wallets or identification of any type, nor remnants of cash, leading a reasonable and prudent person to believe these items had been removed from the Likes/Quiver residence prior to the fire," documents state.
Preliminary hearings for Laziur Hanway, Samantha Hanway, Jenkins and Blackburn are planned for 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 21, in Riverton Circuit Court.
All defendants in the case remain at the Fremont County Detention Center on cash bail ranging from $500,000 to $2 million.