Attorneys for Dimarzio Swade Sanchez, the Northern Cheyenne tribal member accused in the beating and burning death of Roylynn Rideshorse of Crow Agency last April, are raising concern that the defendant may be mentally incapable to stand trial.
Judge Susan Watters signed an order last week granting defense attorneys' request to have Sanchez, 18 years old, undergo a mental health evaluation before proceeding with the case.
Sanchez is charged with first degree murder for the April death of Rideshorse, 27, who was beaten and burned alive near Busby.
Angelica Jo Whiteman, 24, and Frank Sanchez, 19, are co-defendants in the case.
Whiteman is also charged with first degree murder for her alleged role in the crime.
Frank Sanchez recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges of aiding and abetting murder and misprision, after he admitted that he lied to investigators about his knowledge of the murder.
According to court documents filed last week, defense attorneys claim Dimarzio Sanchez suffers from a mental defect or disease and may not be able to assist in his defense.
The judge agreed that there is enough reasonable cause to believe Dimarzio is presently mentally incompetent and has ordered an evaluation.
The May trial date will be rescheduled for a later time after the competency exam has been completed.
The three defendants met Rideshorse at the Kirby Saloon the night she was killed, according to court documents.
Rideshorse had gotten into a fight with her common law husband when she decided to leave the bar with the three defendants and a few others.
Dimarzio Sanchez, who was driving, was supposed to take Rideshorse home to Crow Agency but instead drove the car to a remote location along Highway 212.
Whiteman was allegedly beating Rideshorse in the backseat after the women got into some sort of altercation.
Once the vehicle stopped, Whiteman allegedly dragged the victim out of the car and strangled Rideshorse.
Dimarzio Sanchez directed Frank Sanchez to retrieve a gas can out of the trunk and they allegedly doused Rideshorse in gasoline and set her on fire.
The victim was left for dead in the field for 14 hours before she was discovered.
Rideshorse was transported to the hospital for treatment of third degree burns and frostbite.
She died months later in June.
All three defendants are in custody.