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Montana woman's conviction for vehicular homicide overturned

Katie Garding
Posted at 7:47 AM, Mar 27, 2023

MISSOULA - A Stevensville woman's vehicular homicide conviction for the death of a man who was killed in East Missoula has been overturned in federal court.

In 2011, Katie Garding was found guilty of striking and killing 25-year-old Bronson Parsons with her vehicle on New Year’s Day in 2008. She was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled that Garding's conviction be thrown out due to ineffective counsel.

Christensen said the Department of Justice has until April 21 to appeal the judge's ruling or give notice of their intention to retry Garding.

Garding has been been on parole since 2021. If no notice is given, Garding will not be retried and released from parole.

The Montana Innocence Project was instrumental in getting Garding's conviction overturned. The organization released this statement regarding the case:

MTIP obtained evidence that the State’s theory violates the laws of physics, meaning it is impossible for Katie’s vehicle to have been the striking vehicle. This evidence was presented to Montana’s Fourth Judicial District Court in Katie’s Petition for Post Conviction Relief and later to the Montana Supreme Court when we appealed the district court’s denial of the petition.

Both courts found Streano was not ineffective when failing to hire an accident reconstruction expert but this failure was based on a strategic decision. Streano expressly disavowed this both in her testimony and in the affidavit she submitted to the courts, stating this was a “terrible oversight” and not strategy. -Montana Innocence Project

Click here to read the Montana Innocence Project's response to the court's ruling.