MISSOULA – The death of a key witness in a pair of Missoula murders has led lawyers to reach a plea deal with the final defendant in the case.
Tiffanie Pierce was scheduled for trial in just a few weeks, but on Thursday she pleaded guilty to homicide charges and will likely spend the rest of her life in prison.
Pierce was facing five felony charges ranging from homicide to robbery for her involvement in two different crimes in 2017.
On Thursday morning, she changed her plea to guilty on two of the most serious charges: attempted deliberate homicide and accountability for deliberate homicide as part of a plea deal with the Missoula County Attorney’s Office.
Pierce and her accomplice, Augustus Standingrock, have now both pleaded guilty for their involvement in the murder of 15-year-old Marilyn Pickett and 24-year-old Jackson Wiles back in August of 2017.
After killing the pair, Pierce and Standingrock attempted to dissolve the bodies by placing them in tubs filled with chemicals in the basement of their Strand Avenue home.
A key witness to the murder and Pierce’s roommate, Kyle Belz, recently died by suicide. His death accelerated the case that led to Thursday’s plea deal.
Belz told police that on the night of the murders he heard screams. When he came out of his room, he said he saw Standingrock and Pierce covered in blood.
Beltz initially did not call police on the night the killings took place, but after Pierce and Standingrock were arrested he began cooperating with investigators.
The agreement reached this week dismisses the other three felony charges Pierce would have faced from an attempted robbery that occurred months earlier at a home on Montana Street.
Pierce’s guilty pleas mean she’s facing two possible life sentences.
Missoula District Court Judge James Wheelis will make the final decision in the case at a later sentencing date, which hasn’t been scheduled yet.
Story by Connor McCauley, MTN News