MISSOULA – Two people convicted of participating in a gruesome double murder two years ago were sentenced to life in prison for the crime.
Tiffanie Pierce and Augustus Standingrock have both pleaded guilty to multiple violent felony charges stemming from two separate incidents in 2017.
On Friday they faced sentencing from Judge James Wheelis in front of a packed courtroom
“I would like to offer my deepest and most sincere apology and condolences,” Pierce said in court. “I would also like to apologize to my family and friends, not only for the shame and embarrassment and shock I’ve caused, but also for the burden I’ve become.”
“I apologize. There’s nothing I can say or do to take anything back,” Augustus Standingrock said.
In 2017, Standingrock and Pierce stabbed and killed Jackson Wiles and Marilyn Pickett in the basement of their Strand Avenue home. After killing the pair, Pierce and Standingrock attempted to dissolve the bodies by placing them in tubs filled with chemicals.
That same year, Pierce also stabbed a woman while attempting to rob a home that the victim was house-sitting for.
The two suspects changed their pleas to guilty this year and faced sentencing in front of an emotional courtroom filled with heartfelt victim impact statements from friends and family.
One by one, family members of the victims gave tearful testimony about how these murders have impacted their lives.
Marylin Pickett’s sister addressed the two in court:
“My father don’t have his last daughter,” Kameo Pickett said. “I don’t have the last sister that I will ever have in my life and she was 15. A child. I see you crying, but I think those tears are for yourself.”
Jackson Wiles’ sister, testifying by telephone, held nothing back.
“Augustus, I am laughing at you. I am laughing at you. You are a jealous coward,” Wiles’ sister Amber Tyler said. “You killed my brother out of jealousy and that is nothing else and you know that. It is an absolute senseless killing and I am laughing at you because you’re jealous, Augustus.”
Standingrock’s defense didn’t call anyone to testify on his behalf before he was sentenced to two counts of life in prison by Wheelis.
“In each case, I sentence you to life in prison in the Montana State Prison. They will run concurrently. There will be no restrictions or parole eligibility,” Wheelis said.
Pierce’s defense team did, however, call on witnesses to testify about Pierce’s difficult upbringing and how she is a good person who made multiple mistakes.
The judge also sentenced her to two life sentences behind bars, saying he wants to protect the public.
Wheelis gave no restrictions to parole eligibility, meaning that both Standingrock and Pierce could be eligible for parole at some point during their sentences.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News