Aug 1, 2013 1:02 PM by MTN News - Billings
Walter Larson was sentenced in Dawson County District Court on Wednesday to 110 years behind bars.
A jury convicted Larson in April for the 2008 murder of his ex-wife, Susan Casey, and then dumping her body in the Yellowstone River.
Casey's parents and aunt testified during the sentencing, and a letter from one of her daughters was read in court.
Larson, who is now 44, was sentenced to 100 years for deliberate homicide, and another 10 years for tampering with evidence.
District Court Judge Richard Simonton did not leave out the possibility of parole, but did note that Larson will be in his 70's before he becomes eligible.
(May 15, 2012) Walter Larson, Jr., the Billings man accused of the 2008 murder of Susan Casey in Glendive, appeared in District Court in Glendive before Judge Richard Simonton on Tuesday.
The hearing set a trial date for November 26, 2012. The trial is expected to last eight days.
Casey was reported missing in April 2008; her body was recovered on May 6, 2008, from the Yellowstone River near Fallon.
A press release from the Montana Attorney General's office says that Larson was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday morning, February 22, 2012, by a Montana Division of Criminal Investigation agent and a Glendive Police Department officer, with the assistance of the Phoenix Police Department.
Court documents state that Larson strangled Casey to death and threw her body into the river.
They also reference video surveillance of Larson's van and evidence that he stood in hiding outside her apartment the morning she died.
On March 27, 2012, Larson pleaded not guilty to one count of felony homicide and one felony count of tampering with evidence.
During Tuesday's court session, similar to previous Larson hearings, one-half of the court room was packed with family and friends of Susan Casey. Casey supporters entered and exited the courtroom as a unit. Most stared at Larson throughout the proceedings.
Larson, who has shaved most of his hair since his last court appearance, sat close to the wall, nearly hugging it, in the courtroom before and after his case and spent his time either looking at the judge or looking down.
He did not meet the eyes of the onlookers at any time.
Judge Simonton said that electronic coverage will be allowed in the case.
He also noted that there is the potential for Larson's attorney, former chief public defender Randi Hood, to move to dismiss because of a delay in arraignment.
Hood, on Larson's behalf, has until June 29 to make that and any similar motions and to produce a witness list.
No further court dates are scheduled for Larson until a final pre-trial session on November 20.