Published on: December 21, 2022, 01:47.
Last updated: December 21, 2022, 01:57.
Two Montana women who pleaded guilty to a March armed robbery at a Billings casino were sentenced in federal court last week.
The pair stole alcohol from the casino, fired a warning shot before fleeing and then led police on a high-speed chase.
They crashed their car into an elementary school and threw two firearms on the school grounds.
Makyla Shayd Fetter, 28, of Harlem, Montana, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to Montana U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich.
It will be followed by three years of supervised release. She will also pay $745 in restitution.
Taliah Jeneane Ramirez, 22, of Billings, was sentenced to seven years in prison. It will be followed by three years of supervised release. She will then pay $745 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters sentenced both defendants.
Details of the robbery
The incident began on March 20. The pair entered the Magic Diamond Casino in Billings Heights.
Fetter pulled five bottles of Southern Comfort from a shelf. When an employee asked to see Fetter’s ID, Fetter pulled out a loaded handgun, pointed it at the clerk and said, “Here’s your (expletive) ID,” according to court documents.
As the defendants fled in a Buick, Ramirez pulled out a handgun and fired into the air.
Police began a high-speed chase. But officers called it off because excessive speeds could have put civilians at risk.
The defendants’ car later crashed after going through a fence at Ponderosa Elementary School. Both women threw their loaded guns on school grounds.
Police recovered 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 following a crime of violence and possession of a firearm in a school zone.
The two could have faced up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release on the robbery charge. For possession of 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 $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.
There were also harsh words for the defendants’ actions.
Not only did one of these defendants discharge a gun during this robbery, but the defendants no doubt used a playground to drop their guns while trying to elude law enforcement. Laslovich said in a statement.
The third defendant is awaiting sentencing
Last month, a third suspect in the case, Darwin Dalton Sutherland, 29, of unknown address, admitted in federal court that he is a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
He also admitted to giving the suspects the two firearms they used in the attack, authorities said.
On March 16, 2023, when Watters sentences Sutherland, he faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release, according to Laslovich.