Posted on: December 21, 2022, 01:47h.
Last updated on: December 21, 2022, 02:40h.
Two Montana women who pleaded guilty to a March armed robbery at a Billings casino were both sentenced last week in federal court.
The pair stole alcohol at the casino, fired a warning shot before fleeing, and then led police on a high-speed chase before crashing their car at an elementary school and discarding two firearms on school grounds.
Makyla Shayd Fetter, 28, of Harlem, Mont., was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to Montana US Attorney Jesse Laslovich. Her sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. She also will pay $745 in restitution.
Taliah Jeneane Ramirez, 22, of Billings, was sentenced to seven years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She will then pay $745 in restitution.
US District Judge Susan P. Watters sentenced both defendants.
The incident began on March 20 when the pair entered Magic Diamond Casino in Billings Heights.
Fetter removed five bottles of Southern Comfort from a shelf. When an employee asked to see Fetter’s identification, she pulled out a loaded pistol, pointed it at the clerk, and said, “Here’s your (obscenity) ID,” according to court documents.
As the defendants fled in a Buick, Ramirez took out a pistol and fired a shot in the air.
Police began a high-speed pursuit, which officers called off over fears the excessive speeds might endanger civilians. The defendants’ car later crashed after going through a fence at Ponderosa Elementary School. Both women discarded their loaded guns on school grounds.
Officers found one of the firearms on the day of the robbery. The next day, a student found the second firearm and notified a teacher. Both firearms were stolen.
The two women pleaded guilty in August to robbery affecting commerce, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm in a school zone.
The duo could have faced up to 20 years in prison, a $250K fine, and three years of supervised release on the robbery charge. On possessing a firearm in a crime of violence, each could have faced a mandatory minimum of seven years to life in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, a $250K fine, and five years of supervised release.
There also were harsh words for the defendants’ actions.
Not only did one of these defendants discharge a gun during this robbery, but the defendants unconscionably used a playground to ditch the guns while trying to evade law enforcement,” Laslovich said in a statement.
Third Defendant Awaits Sentencing
Last month, a third suspect in the case, Darwin Dalton Sutherland, 29, of unknown address, admitted in federal court to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
He also admitted to giving the suspects the two firearms they used in the holdup, authorities said.
On March 16, 2023, when Watters sentences Sutherland, he could face up to 10 years in prison, a $250K fine, and three years of supervised release, according to Laslovich.