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Knowles sentenced for causing the death of Meriwether - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Knowles sentenced for causing the death of Meriwether

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 4:04 PM Updated:

Joseph Knowles was sentenced in Great Falls on Tuesday to 60 years in the Montana State Prison for the 2016 death of Megan Meriwether.

Authorities say Knowles, who was 16 years old at the time, planned to rob Meriwether, after setting up a marijuana buy.

Court documents say Meriwether brought a knife to the meeting, and got into a struggle with 18-year old Brianna Coombs, who had arrived with Knowles.

Prosecutors say Knowles ended up with the knife and fatally stabbed Meriwether during the altercation.

The prosecution recommended 60 years in the plea agreement due to the fact that Knowles is a juvenile. The defense asked for 30 years to be suspended, and said that Knowles was remorseful about what happened.

Meriwether's mother made a statement and asked for a harsh sentence.

Judge John Larson, of Missoula, said: "When you use a knife on someone it is incredibly personal.  Leaving them on the ground bleeding and crying is totally inhuman. I don't care what you age is, you have to live with that.”

Knowles said he was sorry for what happened that night.


(OCTOBER 4, 2016) Joseph Edward Knowles has been charged with deliberate homicide for the stabbing death of Megan Meriwether in Great Falls.

Meriwether, 18 years old, died on Friday, September 23rd, after a fight was reported in an alley near 10th Street and 8th Avenue South.

After police arrived, a witness identified one of suspects as a friend of his, Joseph Knowles.

Police say the witness contacted Knowles, who told him that he gotten into a fight with a girl over a marijuana purchase.

Knowles, 16, had originally been charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence; assault with a weapon by accountability; and solicitation to commit distribution of dangerous drugs.

Also charged in connection with the incident is Brianna May Coombs, 18 years old. She is facing charges of tampering with evidence, assault with a weapon by accountability; and solicitation to commit distribution of dangers drugs.

New court documents filed on Monday include a more detailed statement from a 12-year old boy who was found with Knowles and Coombs during the incident.

He told police that he saw Meriwether come to the vehicle chasing Coombs and saying "Please give me my bag back," or similar statements, as Coombs got into the vehicle.

The boy said that Meriwether held on to the outside of the car door, and an altercation began between Meriwether and Coombs through the door or window of the vehicle. 

The boy said that Coombs had a large baggie which he believed contained marijuana, and that Meriwether kept telling Coombs to give the bag back.

The vehicle eventually stopped, and Coombs and Meriwether continued fighting, according to court documents.  

Meriwether then pulled out a knife, according to the boy, and attempted to assault Coombs with it "multiple times."

The boy told police that Coombs wrested the knife from Meriwether but dropped it.

The boy said that Knowles then got out of the car and "entered the fight," and that Meriwether was pushed to the ground. The boy said that Knowles and Coombs then began assaulting Meriwether on the ground.

The boy told police that he saw Knowles "take the knife, and that he had it in his hand while he was on top of Megan," striking her. 

The boy specifically described a point where he saw he knife "sliding," which is when he believes Knowles probably stabbed Meriwether. The boy stated that Coombs did not stab Meriwether.

At that point, according to court documents and the boy's statement, Knowles and Coombs got up and called Meriwether names and swore at her as she lay on the ground.

When questioned by police, Coombs said that she and Knowles had planned to steal Meriwether's marijuana from the outset and never intended to pay for it. 

Court documents state that Meriwether was lying on the ground when she was stabbed, as blood evidence showed she did not move from her position on the ground.

Autopsy results indicate that Meriwether died as the result of a single stab wound to the trunk of her neck, resulting in massive blood loss.

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