Saturday, March 10, 2012


A Browning man appeared in federal court Friday in Great Falls on a homicide charge connected to the November death of an elderly woman on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

A second defendant in the case is set to appear on similar charges next week.

Mark Saint Storm Heavy Runner, 44, pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Blackfeet Tribal Law Enforcement Chief Greg Gilham said Friday that Heavy Runner had been jailed in Browning in connection with the death of Marie Heavy Runner, whose body was found in her home Nov. 4. Gilham said he was not sure whether the two were related. A 2002 obituary for Marie Heavy Runner's husband, Melvin Heavy Runner, lists a Mark Heavy Runner as one of his sons.

Mark S. S. Heavy Runner is one of two suspects listed in a federal case that alleges first-degree and second-degree murder. Heavy Runner was only charged with second-degree murder.

An indictment detailing the charges against Heavy Runner remained sealed Friday because the second defendant had not yet made an initial appearance in federal court, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which did not release the second person's name. That person is scheduled to make an initial appearance some time next week.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation began investigating Marie Heavy Runner's death after the 71-year-old's body was found in her home. Throughout the investigation, the FBI declined to release any information on the circumstances of her death other than to confirm that the death had occurred and that the FBI was investigating it.

Court records indicate that Mark Heavy Runner was arrested Thursday by federal officials. He is in the Cascade County Detention Center on a no-bond federal hold.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Kimball Bennion at 791-1462 or Follow him on Twitter @GFTrib_KBennion.

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