United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. WATTERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dimarzio Swade Sanchez was convicted of First Degree Murder
for the death of R.R., who was found strangled and burned in
a field within the exterior boundaries of the Crow Indian
Reservation. Sanchez has moved for a new trial based on newly
discovered evidence, Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83
(1963), and Arizona v. Youngblood, 488 U.S. 51
(1988). After reviewing the trial transcript (cited as
"Tr."), hearing transcript on the motion for a new
trial (cited as "Mot."), and the exhibits, the
Court denies the motion.
Murder of R.R.
R.R. was murdered, in mid-April 2016, Dimarzio Sanchez, Frank
Sanchez, Larry Sanchez, Angelica 'Jelly' Whiteman,
Sarah Firebear, and Judaya Three fingers had been drinking
and driving around. (Tr. 70:23-77:2 Judaya; 121:14-122:6
Sarah; 336:8-338:2 Angelica; 434:18-438:9 Frank). The group
was drinking heavily enough that they ran out of alcohol by
nightfall and decided to go to Kirby's Saloon to get some
more. (Tr. 77:15-78:17 Judaya; 122:7-11 Sarah; 340:14-17
Angelica; 438:16-24 Frank). When they arrived at Kirby's
Saloon, Dimarzio and Angelica went inside to gamble and buy
alcohol; Frank went inside to use the restroom; and Larry,
Sarah, and Judaya waited outside with the car. (Tr. 78:19-24
Judaya; 122:7-123:18 Sarah; 340:18-341:4 Angelica;
438:24-439:3 Frank). A few minutes later, Dimarzio and Frank
emerged from Kirby's Saloon and joined the group waiting
with the car. (Tr. 123:10-18 Sarah; 341:1-9 Angelica;
439:2-20 Frank). Shortly after, Angelica came back to the car
with more alcohol and accompanied by R.R. (Tr. 78:18-81:7
Judaya; 123:23-124:11 Sarah; 341:9-345:19 Angelica; 440:1-16
Frank). Angelica told the group that she met R.R. inside,
R.R.'s boyfriend had been beating her up, and R.R. needed
a ride to Crow. (Tr. 78:19-81:10 Judaya; 123:23-124:14 Sarah;
341:9-345:16 Angelica; 440:1-25 Frank). No. one in the group
had met R.R. before. (Tr. 80:25-81:3 Judaya; 123:20-124:2
Sarah; 341:12-14 Angelica; 440:9-12 Frank).
agreed to give R.R. a ride home and the entire group piled
into the car. (Tr. 78:19-81:23 Judaya; 124:23-125:25 Sarah;
345:17-24 Angelica; 440:16-441:15 Frank). At some point, the
group stopped at Dimarzio's grandmother's house so
Angelica, Judaya, and R.R. could use the restroom. (Tr.
81:22-82:16 Judaya; 125:13-129:2 Sarah; 345:25-346:21
Angelica; 441:19-443:9 Frank). While the group was stopped at
the grandmother's house, Dimarzio and Larry got into a
fight. (Tr. 82:12-14 Judaya; 129:3-130:14 Sarah;
346:16-347:12 Angelica; 443:10-444:17 Frank). Due to the
fight, Larry stayed at the grandmother's house and the
rest of the group got into the car and headed toward Crow to
drop off R.R. (Tr. 82:15-83:1 Judaya; 130:7-131:9 Sarah;
347:7-16 Angelica; 444:18-24 Frank). Along the way, a fight
erupted between Angelica and R.R. over the mention of the
name "Rocco," who is the father of Angelica's
child and a friend of R.R.'s. (Tr. 83:3-84:9 Judaya;
261:2-22 Sarah; 347:19-349:13 Angelica; 444:21-446:7 Frank).
Angelica and R.R. pulled each other's hair and exchanged
blows. Either at Angelica's direction or Dimarzio's
decision, or a combination of both, Dimarzio turned off the
highway down a dirt road known as Castle Rock Road. (Tr.
83:8-84:16 Judaya; 261:4-264:5 Sarah; 348:8-350:5 Angelica;
stopped the car a little ways down the road and the entire
group got out. (Tr. 85:5-9 Judaya; 263:23-264:23 Sarah;
349:14-350:5 Angelica; 446:9-446:22 Frank). Once out of the
car, Angelica and R.R. continued to fight. (Tr, 85:5-25
Judaya; 264:11-25 Sarah; 350:11-351:14 Angelica;
446:14-447:22 Frank). At some point, Dimarzio and Angelica
either ordered R.R. to take her clothes off or they ripped
them off her. (Tr. 86:1-22 Judaya; 350:11-351:21 Angelica).
Dimarzio and Frank told Judaya and Sarah to get back inside
the car, which they did. (Tr. 86:23-87:5 Judaya;
pulled out a bandana, told Angelica "I'm only going
to show you this once and one time only," or "this
is how you do it," crossed the bandana around R.R.'s
neck, and began choking her. (Tr. 267:17-24, 269:1-11 Sarah;
355:9-358:7 Angelica; 451:13-452:20 Frank). Dimarzio gave the
bandana to Angelica, told her she had to finish it off, and
he and Frank got back in the car. (Tr. 355:9-358:7 Angelica;
451:14-452:23 Frank). Angelica wrapped the bandana around
R.R.'s neck and choked her until R.R. defecated and went
limp. (Tr. 87:25-88:8 Judaya; 269:1-11 Sarah; 356:22-357:10
Angelica; 453:2-453:18 Frank). Angelica came back to the car,
crying, saying she'd killed R.R. (Tr. 82:25-88:3 Judaya;
269:1-6 Sarah; 356:23-358:22 Angelica; 453:2-453:18 Frank).
Dimarzio and Frank exited the car to check if R.R. was dead,
and discovering she was only unconscious, came back to the
car and told Angelica, "you only blacked her out."
(Tr. 88:1-12 Judaya; 269:1-9 Sarah; 358:17-18 Angelica).
Dimarzio popped the trunk and told Frank to get the gas can.
(Tr. 369:20-24 Sarah; 358:8-359:4 Angelica; 453:21-454:19
grabbed the gas can out of the trunk and handed it to
Dimarzio. (Tr. 358:25-359:4 Angelica; 454:14-19 Frank).
Dimarzio drenched R.R. in gasoline and lit her on fire. (Tr.
359:5-10 Angelica). When Dimarzio poured the gasoline over
R.R., either Angelica or Frank, or both, were outside with
him. (Tr. 88:13-89:13 Judaya; 270:21-271:25 Sarah;
359:5-359:17 Angelica; 455:4-455:19 Frank). Dimarzio and
either Angelica or Frank, or all three, came running back to
the car, got in, and told Judaya and Sarah not to look back.
(Tr. 88:17-89:4 Judaya; 270:21-271:11 Sarah). Both Judaya and
Sarah looked back anyway, and saw a fire burning where R.R.
was laying. (Tr. 89:3-89:13 Judaya; 271:1-11 Sarah). The
group drove off, leaving R.R. to die. (Tr. 89:14-92:11
Judaya; 271:20-277:25 Sarah; 359:12-364:25 Angelica;
chance, several hours later, a rancher stopped off on Castle
Rock Road to relieve himself. (Tr. 53:5-54:21). He saw R.R.
laying along the road, completely naked in the freezing cold
and covered in burns, but miraculously alive. (Tr.
54:22-55:16). After putting a blanket around her and giving
her something to drink, the rancher contacted law enforcement
for help. (Tr. 55:12-56:1). R.R. was rushed to the emergency
room at the Crow hospital where doctors tried to stabilize
her. (Tr. 406:21-415:18). She was then life-flighted to the
burn unit at the University of Utah. (Tr. 415:11-20). Her
condition was critical when she arrived at the Utah burn
unit, with severe burns over 40% of her body, including her
face, her chest, her back, her arms, and her legs. (Tr.
416:24-417:22). After doctors performed more than twenty
life-saving procedures, R.R. died due to complications from
her burns. (Tr. 420:4-14, 422:25-423:21; 430:21-25).
Criminal proceedings against Dimarzio, Angelica, and
June 20, 2016, a criminal complaint was sworn and arrest
warrants were issued for Dimarzio and Angelica. (Doc. 1). On
June 22, 2016, Dimarzio and Angelica were arrested. On July
22, 2016, Dimarzio, Angelica, and Frank were indicted for
first degree murder and/or aiding abetting first degree
murder for the death of R.R. (Doc. 16). Frank was arrested
later that day. On March 6, 2017, Frank entered into a plea
agreement with the United States, in which he agreed to plead
guilty to the superseding information charging him with
accessory after the fact and misprision of a felony in
exchange for the United States dismissing the indictment
against him. (Docs. 111, 112, 114, 116, and 117). On August
8, 2017, Angelica entered into a plea agreement with the
United States, in which she agreed to plead guilty to the
indictment in exchange for the United States recommending a
three level reduction of her offense level under the United
States Sentencing Guidelines. (Docs. 159, 160, and 165).
December 4, 2017, Dimarzio's jury trial began. (Doc.
249). On December 7, 2017, after a two hour deliberation, the
jury returned a guilty verdict against Dimarzio for first
degree murder. (Docs. 258 and 259).
December 8, 2017, the day after Dimarzio's trial ended,
Ananda Littlebird brought a phone to the Bureau of Indian
Affairs office. (Mot. 80:3-82:3; 71:21-72:5; 54:12-56:5).
Ananda showed BIA Agent Chansey McMillin a typed note on the
phone, which was saved in the phone's calendar under the
date "April 16, 2016," and set to reoccur yearly.
(Mot. 80:3-82:3; 10:8-14:6; Doc. 307-1; Doc. 324-1). The note
I should have told them the truth about what I did.. Now
I'm full of regret not of what happen but I told them
what somewhat happen I was apart of it.. I beat her in the
car a bit I kicked her on the side of the head I helped find
the gas can. I felt so alone when I found out they got caught
(Mot. 12:12-20; Doc. 307-1). Agent McMillin did not
immediately appreciate the relevance of the note because he
was not involved in the investigation or case involving
R.R.'s murder. (Mot. 78:25-87:14). However, the note
seemed peculiar to him so he took a screenshot of the note
and told Ananda she should not delete it until he could
figure out if it was important. (Mot. 80:8-19). A couple of
days later, on December 11, 2017, Agent McMillin showed the
screenshot of the note to BIA Agent John Dodd. (Mot.
71:21-72:5). Agent Dodd, due to his involvement in the
investigation into R.R.'s death, saw the relevance of the
note. (Mot. 71:5- 72:5). He and Agent McMillin attempted to
make contact with Ananada at her house, but were
unsuccessful. (Mot. 76:5-11; 81:14-20).
FBI Agent Aaron Christensen, who was involved in the
investigation into R.R.'s death, had also received
information about the note. On December 8, 2017, Agent
Christensen received a text which contained a screenshot of a
Facebook post of the note. (Mot. 33:20-35:1). The Facebook
post was made by Ananda. (Mot. 21:17-23:6; 67:6-68:7). Agent
Christensen immediately informed the prosecution about the
Facebook post and note. (Mot. 35:5-18). A couple of days
later, Agent Christensen and Agent Dodd made contact with
each other and discussed recovering the phone from Ananda.
(Mot. 55:14-23; 76:22-24).
December 13, 2017, Agent Christensen recovered the phone and
interviewed Ananda. (Mot. 56:24-57:1). Ananda informed Agent
Christensen she purchased the phone second-hand from Shauntel
Russell and had deleted the Facebook post of the screenshot
of the note at her grandmother's instruction. (Mot.
35:21-36:17; 67:1-68:7). Agent Christensen interviewed
Shauntel and learned that she also purchased the phone
second-hand. (Mot. 36:18-37:8). At that point, Agent
Christensen attempted to work backwards through the
phone's chain of custody until he came across a person or
date related to R.R.'s death. (Mot. 36:8-37:8). At around
the same time, Agent Christensen submitted the phone for
forensic analysis. (Mot. 56:24-57:25). Eventually, after
interviewing multiple people throughout December and January,
Agent Christensen reached what he thought was a dead end and
turned over his reports and the forensic analysis to the
prosecution. (Mot. 36:8-40:10; 60:1-20; Doc. 345 Ex. 1).
Agent Christensen believed at least seven different people
owned the phone in 2017 and an unknown number prior to that.
January 22, 2018, Laura Lonebear contacted defense counsel
and told them about the note. (Doc. 303-1 at 1-3). Upon
receiving this information, defense counsel contacted the
prosecution and asked if the FBI had the phone. (Doc. 303-2).
The prosecution responded the FBI had the phone and was
currently investigating the matter. (Doc. 303-2). Shortly
after, defense counsel requested discovery related to the
phone. (Doc. 308 at 1-2). On February 1, 2018, the
prosecution provided the defense with an email summary of the
FBI's investigation into the phone, but did not turn over
Agent Christensen's reports, the forensic analysis, or