Missoula and Western Montana | Montana's News Leader®

Plea deal reached in 2017 Missoula double murder case

MISSOULA – Prosecutors and the defense in the case of a Missoula man who’s charged with killing two people earlier has reached a plea deal.

Augustus Standingrock pleaded guilty Friday morning to a charge of deliberate homicide and a count of accountability to deliberate homicide.

The plea agreement calls for Standingrock to serve a life sentence in prison and means the trial set for Jan. 4 in Missoula County has been vacated.

The plea deal transpired at a status conference hearing before Missoula District Court Judge James Wheelis.

StandingRock Plea Deal
Augustus Standingrock appearing in a Missoula courtroom on 12.14.18 (MTN News photo)

27-year-old Standingrock and co-defendant Tiffany Pierce were charged with double homicide in the deaths of Jackson Wiles, 24 and Marilyn Pickett, 15.

A police investigation showed that the victims were stabbed to death in a Strand Avenue home before their bodies had been placed into plastic tubs filled with chemicals.

Their bodies were found on Aug. 17, 2017, when police arrived at the home with a search warrant in connection with a reported “home invasion burglary/stabbing” that occurred on July 23.

A police investigation showed that 15-year-old Marilyn Pickett and 24-year-old Jackson Wiles were stabbed to death in a Strand Avenue home before their bodies had been placed into plastic tubs filled with chemicals.

During his Friday court appearance, Standingrock admitted to killing Wiles and then handing the knife to Pierce knowing that she would stab Pickett. The plea deal was sealed by Judge Wheelis.

After 10 minutes in chambers, the parties emerged with an agreed plea deal that would vacate Standingrock’s January trial. He pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide and accountability for deliberate homicide.

During Friday’s hearing, Standingrock admitted to stabbing Jackson Wiles with the intent of killing him.

“John Doe was Jackson Wiles?” Wheelis asked Standingrock in court Friday.

“Yes,” Standingrock replied.

“And you knew Jackson Wiles? You knew who he was before?”

“Yes.”

“You stabbed him?”

“Yes.”

“And you did it in a way that you knew would kill him, basically, right?”

“Yes.”

“That was your intent?”

“Yes.”

One issue in the courtroom seemed to center on Standingrock’s involvement in the death of 15-year-old Marilyn Pickett. Standingrock eventually admitted to handing Pierce the knife that was used to stab Pickett.

“Did the actions that you took and the actions that occurred there, in your mind, make you accountable and make it reasonably probable that resulted in the death of miss Doe?” asked defense attorney Colin Stephens.

“Yes,” Standingrock replied.

“Was Miss Doe present when you stabbed Mr. Wiles?”

“Yes.”

“Was there another person present as well?”

“Yes.”

“Would that be Ms. Pierce?”

“Yes.”

“Did you stab Miss Doe?”

“No.”

“Did you hand that knife to the individual who did stab Ms. Doe?”

“Yes.”

“Did you do that knowing that it was highly probable that Ms. Pierce would stab Ms. Doe?”

“Yes.”

Pierce is still scheduled for a jury trial next April.

-information from Connor McCauley, Melissa Rafferty and Mark Thorsell included in this report

MTN News

MTN News

Scroll to top
Skip to content