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Husband, wife get big sentences in Hudson homicides

May 23, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Joseph Jude Jenkins will spend the next 70 years to life behind bars in connection with the 2011 double homicide in Hudson. His wife, Samantha June Hanway, will spend 25 to 50 years in prison.

Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Norman E. Young handed down both sentences during separate hearings Thursday morning in Lander.

The couple, residents of the Wind River Indian Reservation, in previous court hearings pleaded guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting the second-degree murders of Eric Clinton Likes, 42, and his girlfriend, Elva Charlotte Quiver, 20, on Nov. 15, 2011, at Likes's rented trailer house in Hudson.

Both entered into plea agreements that stipulated they would not be sentenced until their co-defendants. Ryan Hanway and Laziur Stephen Hanway Jr. already have been sentenced under plea agreements.

But the case against the fifth and youngest defendant, Jude Blackburn, has been held up at the Wyoming Supreme Court level for months while a judge decides if the case should be transferred down to juvenile court.

Because prosecutors expect proceedings for Blackburn to carry on for several months if not years, an addendum to the plea agreements filed earlier this month stipulated that Jenkins and Samantha Hanway be sentenced for the first count Thursday and another hearing be held for the second count after Blackburn is sentenced.

Judge Young's decision Thursday allows the couple to be transported to prison in the meantime.

Background

According to previous court testimony, some of the defendants on or about Nov. 13, 2011, scoped out the victims' trailer house with the intent to rob Likes because Jenkins and his pregnant wife were facing eviction and needed money. Some in the group knew Likes and Quiver, while others say they did not.

On or about Nov. 15, 2011, some of the defendants, including Jenkins and Samantha Hanway, returned to the trailer. After being welcomed into the house by Likes, Jenkins and Laziur Hanway say they stabbed the couple as they slept in their bedroom.

Samantha Hanway and Blackburn remained in a getaway vehicle. At one point, according to court testimony, Blackburn joined the two men inside the house and assisted with the murders by striking likes in the head with a drawer.

When the murders went unnoticed for two days, Samantha Hanway, her brother, Laziur Hanway, and her husband admitted returning tot he trailer and setting it on fire with the bodies still inside.

Investigation led police to the five individuals, who were all arrested in March 2012.

Testimony

Brian Likes spoke at both hearings Thursday morning on behalf of his brother.

At proceedings for Samantha Hanway, he told Young that he and his brother had a strong bond.

"He helped out a lot of people in this world," Brian Likes said. "He was willing to give his shirt off his back."

He even helped this young lady's father," he continued.

Laziur Hanway Sr., who also attended the hearings, worked for Likes prior to the murders. Laziur Hanway Jr. also worked for Likes.

"The 50 years is what I want," Brian Likes said. "He helped her family out."

Lois MedicineCloud also spoke at both hearings on behalf of her niece, Quiver.

MedicineCloud spoke of a happy girl who was handicapped and small and did not deserve a "terrible" death.

"I want you to suffer every day for what you did, what you did to our family," MedicineCloud said to Samantha Hanway. "We want closure, and we want justice. " Maybe one day I will have the heart to forgive these people for what they did."

MedicineCloud said she was thankful for the person who discovered the blood-spotted Zippo lighter near the crime scene that eventually led police to the suspects.

Fremont County deputy attorney Patrick LeBrun headed up prosecution for both hearings. At Hanway's, he told the court she had "absolute power" to prevent the murders and chose not to.

Other testimony came from Hanway's pastor, the pastor's wife, and attorney Kathleen Hart Tilton of Lander.

Tilton said her client had an unstable upbringing, which distorted the importance of facing eviction.

Hanway told the court she was sorry for her role in the deaths and read a poem to the victims" family to express her feelings.

"Out of sight, I cry every night," she said, later saying, "I know I've hit you with the hardest blow."

Jenkins

Following Hanway's sentencing, proceedings for her husband went much faster after his attorney Tina Olson of Cheyenne said her client requested no one speak on his behalf.

Both Brian Likes and MedicineCloud made remarks similar to those heard at Hanway's hearing, and both asked for the maximum sentence.

"He and (Laziur Hanway Jr.) went into Eric Likes's trailer, they persuaded him to let them in the house," LeBrun said, adding that the shocking part was how Likes showed the two how to operate the TV remote and welcomed them to sleep on his couch.

'the nicest thing that one person can do to another person is open their door and let them in," LeBrun said. "The "my house is your house."

Joseph stabbed Eric in the head " and several other places, while (Laziur Hanway Jr.) was killing Elva," he added.

Jenkins also apologized for his actions.

"I couldn't find the words. There's always two words, I'm sorry," he said. "As much as I want to, I can't take back what I've done. I'm sorry."

Young ordered Hanway to pay $2,005 in restitution to the Quiver family to purchase a headstone for Elva. He reserved making such order for Jenkins until the next sentencing hearing.

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