By Molly Priddy, 9-14-12
||Caption: Justine Winter is seen in Flathead County District Court in 2011. - File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon
The case of an Evergreen teenager convicted of two counts of deliberate homicide has been reopened in Flathead County District Court.
Justine Winter, now 19, filed a petition for post-conviction relief in District Court on Sept. 10, citing ineffective assistance of trial counsel, ineffective assistance of appellate counsel and failure of prosecutors to disclose material.
A jury found Winter guilty of two counts of deliberate homicide in February 2011, for deliberately driving her car across the U.S. Highway 93 centerline on March 19, 2009 after a fight with her boyfriend. She crashed into and killed 35-year-old Erin Thompson, who was pregnant at the time, and her son, Caden Odell, 13.
Winter’s defense attorneys during the trial were David Stufft and Max Battle.
District Court Judge Katherine Curtis handed Winter two, 30-year sentences in the Department of Corrections, with 15 years on each suspended. The sentences were to run concurrently, and Winter must serve at least half of them – or seven and a half years – before she is eligible for parole.
A status hearing on Winter’s case is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Flathead District Court. Winter could appear in person at the hearing, or may tune in via video or telephone.
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