Two men allegedly beheaded a Billings man last month because they were upset he was only carrying $6 when they robbed him, prosecutors said on Monday.
Court documents state that Donald Ray Cherry, 31 years old, and Jeffrey Glen Haverty, 33, met the victim, Myron Knight, at a Montana Lil's Casino on October 26. According to casino staff, Knight, a regular customer, left with the two men at about 10 p.m.
Staff members told detectives that Knight asked them to hold on to his winnings, totaling $120, in case the men wanted to rob him. He also reportedly told staff "if he did not come back, the men he left with were responsible."
Cherry's girlfriend, identified in court documents as "Z.W.", told police she was with the three men at the campsite where Knight's body was found. She told investigators that Cherry told her that Haverty had struck Knight in the head with a hammer, and the two men planned to dismember the body and burn it in a fire pit to help dispose of evidence, which did not happen.
When asked why the two men committed the crime, Z.W. told investigators that Haverty killed Knight after he robbed him and became angry that Knight only had $6.
A state medical examiner said "it was more probable than not" Knight was alive when his head was cut off.
The woman also said Haverty and Cherry had been living in a tent on the West End but denied being there when Knight was killed. She said she was with the three men at the campsite the night of the murder, but left to go to the Town Pump nearby on King Avenue.
Casino staff also identified the two men Knight was with as Cherry and Haverty, and told detectives that Knight said he was going with the two men to look at their tent. They also identified two other individuals who were often seen with Cherry and Haverty, Haverty's girlfriend, referred to as "J.F", and Ronald Bauer.
Cherry confirmed to police that he met Knight while he was with Haverty at the casino and they all left together. He denied going to the campsite that night, or ever seeing Knight again.
Cherry's girlfriend told police she and Cherry were at the campsite with Haverty the night of Knight's death.
She said she returned to the site about 15-20 minutes later, and saw Knight lying on the ground with blood on his neck. According to police, she said she then watched as Haverty and Cherry cut off Knight's head with a knife.
She told police that after Knight was killed, the three of them went to a casino and gambled.
According to documents, Knights body was found in a clearing in a secluded area on the West End near 32nd Street West and Gabel Road. Investigators found Knight's body covered in a carpet and leaves. He had been beheaded.
Investigators on scene also found a tent with similar carpet, and other items including receipts and women's clothing. One of the receipts was generated from an ATM at the Montana Lil's Casino on King Avenue.
Cherry and Haverty are each being held on $500,000 bond; their arraignments are scheduled for later this month.
Haverty has a conviction for criminal endangerment in Wheatland County.