NewsCrime and Courts


Missoula woman charged with killing her children changes plea

Gardipe charged with stabbing deaths of 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son.
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Leannah Gardipe
Posted at 8:59 AM, Aug 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 20:51:41-04

Leannah Jean Gardipe, a Missoula woman charged with killing her two children in 2021, changed her plea to guilty this week.

Gardipe, 35 years old, was charged with two counts of deliberate homicide in the stabbing deaths of her 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son in November 2021 at her residence.

Court documents state Gardipe's mother called 911 to report that her daughter had called her and that Gardipe said she "saved her babies."

She asked the defendant if that meant she had killed her children and the defendant began crying.

A few minutes later, Gardipe called 911 and said she "want(ed) to report a murder.

Gardipe told 911 that the event happened that morning and that it was done with a knife.

The defendant asked to send medical personnel. According to court documents, Gardipe told 911: "I was supposed to die today."

Sheriff's deputies found the children in their beds with knife wounds and defensive marks on their hands.

Leannah Gardipe, facing murder charges for the deaths of her two young children
Leannah Gardipe in court (November 2021)

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the home, and found a note at the threshold of the bedroom where the children were found that read " [i]t was the only way that we all wouldn't burn, now I'm the only one of us that will."

Deputies recovered the knife underneath the bed.

Gardipe changed her plea to guilty on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, in Missoula District Court. She is scheduled to be sentenced on November 20.

Missoula Deputy County Attorney Matt Jennings said a plea agreement filed Tuesday recommends Gardipe serve two consecutive life sentences in custody at the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services (DPHHS), with no time suspended.

But Jennings added that Gardipe's attorney can argue for a lesser sentence.

Gardipe has been held on a $10 million bond in the Missoula County Detention Center since her arrest.