Heavy Runner pleads guilty in mother's death
A Browning man is set to be sentenced this summer after admitting Wednesday to killing his mother and hiding her body for months underneath the crawlspace of her home.
Mark Saint Storm Heavy Runner, 44, pleaded guilty to a count of second degree murder during a federal court hearing in Great Falls on Wednesday morning.
Appearing in restraints and wearing a black-and-white striped jumpsuit, Heavy Runner appeared before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon and admitted to the facts set forth in an offer of proof submitted by the U.S Attorney's Office.
The offer of proof states that Heavy Runner and his mother, Marie Heavy Runner, got into an argument on July 1. Mark Heavy Runner then got angry and strangled the 71-year-old with a rope until she lost consciousness. He then submerged her head into a bathtub full of water until she drowned.
He then wrapped her body in blankets and put it in the crawlspace, where it wasn't discovered until Nov. 4. Blackfeet Tribal Law Enforcement served a search warrant on Marie Heavy Runner's residence, where Mark Heavy Runner and others were living. They found her body wrapped in plastic and duct tape.
Thomas Charles Marc Heavy Runner, 21, also was charged in the case with accessory to murder after the fact. He pleaded not guilty earlier this month, and his trial date is set for April 17.
Mark Heavy Runner was originally charged with another offense of first degree murder in his mother's death, but that charge was dropped in a plea agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney's Office. According to federal statute, second degree murder still can be considered an act of premeditated and deliberate murder. The only difference between first- and second-degree murder in the federal court system is that first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence while second-degree murder can be punished by any amount of imprisonment up to life.
Haddon set Mark Heavy Runner's sentencing date for July 16.