Convicted Killer And Accomplice Get Life Sentences Without Parole – Death Penalty Not Sought By Prosecutors
Scott Austin Price and Sarah McKnight appeared in Missoula District Court on Monday morning and were sentenced for their roles in the murder of a Missoula woman in a local motel,and the stabbing of another woman in a grocery store parking lot in December of 2015.
Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks represented the State at the sentencing.
"Scott Price was sentenced for crimes related to the murder of Lonette Keehner and the stabbing of Susan Ledger here in Missoula last December," Marks began. "The stabbing occurred in the parking lot of Missoula Fresh Market on Reserve Street, and then the murder of Lonette Keehner in the Super 8 Motel on Brooks. He received a sentence of life in prison plus 200 years without the possibility of parole."
Marks said Sarah McKnight was also sentenced on Monday.
"She was sentenced for her role in those crimes and she received two life sentences running consecutively, which means functionally she'll be eligible for parole in 60 years, when she is 93 years old," he said.
Both Price and McKnight were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping. Price was charged with attempted deliberate homicide for the stabbing at Fresh Market, and McKnight was charged with accountability to deliberate homicide for being the getaway driver. Additionally, they were both charged with deliberate homicide in the murder of Lonette Keehner. Both Price and McKnight were under the influence of methamphetamine during the events, but Marks said that was not a mitigating factor in their sentencing.
Marks explains why the death penalty was not sought in this case.
"Not every crime qualifies for the death penalty in the state of Montana," he said. "There have to be special circumstances that make it qualify. In addition, in my legal view, there probably is no death penalty in Montana currently because of the U.S. Supreme Court invalidating the death penalty statute in another state that is virtually identical to Montana's, so I don't think we could impose one until the legislature changes our death penalty statute."
Price received a similar sentence for deliberate homicide earlier in the month for stabbing his landlord to death in Miles City.
He will spend the rest of his life in prison.