<

Crime & Courts

Aug 13, 2013 2:18 PM by MTN News - Billings

Co-defendant in Sherry Arnold murder trial enters plea deal

SIDNEY - Lester Van Waters, Jr., the co-defendant in the Sherry Arnold murder case, has entered into a plea agreement with the state.

Waters has been charged with deliberate kidnapping and deliberate homicide in the 2012 death of Arnold.

According to the Richland County Clerk of Courts, Waters will appear before District Judge Richard Simonton on Tuesday afternoon at 2:00 pm.

The plea agreement calls for a 100-year sentence that will spare Waters the death penalty, as long as he agrees to plead guilty and assist the state in the prosecution of Michael Spell.

In addition, 20 years of the 100-year sentence would be suspended, and there would not be any restriction on Waters' eligibility for parole.

Judge Simonton will make the final ruling Tuesday afternoon as to whether or not he'll accept the plea agreement.

Click here to read the plea agreement (PDF).


TIMELINE (2012)

January 7th: Sherry Arnold, a 43 year old teacher in Sidney, Montana is reported missing after failing to return from a morning run.

January 7th: A search begins for Arnold which includes 100 people, including 40 members of the Montana National Guard and two planes searching by air.

January 7th: Authorities recover one of Arnold's jogging shoes in northeast Sidney along Ninth Avenue. A substance which has not been identified by law enforcement was found on the shoe.

January 9th: The Montana Department of Justice issues a Missing Persons Alert for Arnold.

January 10th: The Federal Bureau of Investigation becomes involved in the investigation into Arnold's disappearance due to proximity to North Dakota and potential of kidnapping.

January 11th: A tip line is set up by investigators for information leading to the whereabouts of Sherry Arnold (406) 433-4027. Also, a "Help Find Sherry Arnold" page on Facebook garners thousands of visits.

January 12th: Formal search efforts are suspended until authorities receive new information.

January 12th: Arnold added to the FBI Missing Persons List.

January 13th: The Sidney School District posts on their website that it had informed students and teachers that Sherry Arnold is dead. The school says they were informed by Arnold's family.

January 13th: A press conference is held by Sidney police in conjunction with the FBI. Sidney Police Chief Frank DiFonzo said a 47-year-old man is in custody in Williston, North Dakota, and a 22-year-old man had been detained for questioning in Rapid City, South Dakota, both in connection with Arnold's disappearance.

January 13th: Hundreds pour into the gym at Sidney High School for a memorial vigil.

January 14th: Sidney Police Chief Frank DiFonzo confirms that the two men in custody have been arraigned on charges of aggravated kidnapping and are being held at the Williams County Jail in Williston, North Dakota.

January 15th: The two men held on charges of aggravated kidnapping are identified as 47-year-old Lester Waters Jr. and 22-year-old Michael Spell. Both men are most recently from Parachute, Colorado.

Related Stories

  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Photo
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail
  • Story Thumbnail

»Comments

»Topics in this article