Mary Agnes Leider Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
|U.S. Attorney’s Office July 24, 2013|
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on July 24, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, Mary Agnes Leider, a 25-year-old resident of Crow Agency and an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Indians, pled guilty to second-degree murder. Sentencing has been set for October 22, 2013. She is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica T. Fehr and Lori Harper Suek, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On December 3, 2012, at approximately 4:06 a.m., 911 operators from the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office began receiving phone calls that they identified as coming from the area of mile marker 11 on Highway 313, south of Hardin. Operators dispatched law enforcement and an ambulance in response.
When they arrived at the scene, law enforcement found Leider and her brother, A.L., sitting to the side of the road, crying uncontrollably. Leider told law enforcement that her baby was “gone” and had been hit by a vehicle. As additional law enforcement officers arrived, there was another 911 call that dispatched additional law enforcement to mile marker 19, Highway 313, to respond to another 911 emergency call regarding a deceased 3-year-old child. Upon arrival at the scene, law enforcement were met by G.D. and her son, W.L. G.D. is the mother of Leider, A.L., and W.L. G.D. took an officer to her car, where the officer found a 3-year-old female. The child was examined and appeared to already be deceased. The child was identified as Leider’s daughter.
Later on that day, law enforcement interviewed G.D. She advised that her daughter, Leider, and her two sons had been out partying during the evening of December 2, 2012, and had taken the victim with them. G.D. reported that she had repeatedly called and text messaged her children in order to have Leider come home with the victim, but Leider refused. Early in the morning hours of December 3, 2012, G.D. reported that she left to find Leider and the victim and was traveling towards Hardin. As she was traveling north on Highway 313, she saw Leider’s pickup traveling towards her. Both vehicles stopped, and G.D. saw that Leider’s pickup was being driven by W.L. W.L. told G.D. that something was wrong with the victim—Leider’s 3-year-old daughter. G.D. saw the victim in the backseat and realized she was not breathing and not responsive. W.L. told G.D. that Leider had thrown the victim from the pickup. When G.D. picked the victim up, she saw blood coming from the back of her head. She called an ambulance and put the victim in her car.
W.L. was interviewed by law enforcement and reported that he was driving Leider’s pickup early in the morning on December 3, 2012. W.L. reported that Leider was seated in the front passenger’s seat, with the victim on her lap. At the time, the victim was quiet but awake. While they were driving south towards St. Xavier, Leider opened the front passenger door with her right hand and threw the victim out of the moving pickup. W.L. and the reconstructionist from the Montana Highway Patrol estimated the truck was traveling between 45 and 51 miles per hour at the time the victim was thrown from the truck. W.L. stopped as fast as he could and threw Leider out of the truck with A.L. W.L. went back down the road behind the truck to where the victim was lying in the roadway. W.L. reported that he knew she was dead but carried her back to the truck and placed her in the backseat. He began driving towards home, leaving Leider and his brother A.L. by mile marker 11 where they were ultimately found by law enforcement a short time later.
Following the arrival of law enforcement at the scene, Leider was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital to have her blood drawn and for treatment for abrasions to her face. Her blood alcohol level was found to be over a 0.24 when analyzed by the FBI Laboratory. While there, she alternated between saying “I killed my baby” and claiming that the group had a car accident and that was how the victim had died. When questioned by law enforcement, Leider admitted that she had been driving around and drinking with her brothers but claimed that she hit her face on the dashboard and could not recall how the victim was killed. Leider’s pickup was impounded and towed to a law enforcement facility for analysis. The right front passenger door was analyzed by a professional mechanic, and it was found that the door functioned properly.
An autopsy was conducted of the victim. Following the autopsy, the victim’s probable cause of death was determined to be severe head injuries caused when thrown from a moving motor vehicle.
The crime occurred within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian Reservation.
Leider faces possible penalties of life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years’ supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.