Accused Double Murderer Tiffanie Pierce Seeks Trials Severed
23 year-old Tiffanie Rae Pierce, charged with two counts of deliberate homicide in the stabbing deaths and dismemberment of 15 year-old Marilyn Pickett and 24 year-old Jackson Wiles, is also charged with attempted deliberate homicide in a separate case.
Pierce appeared with her attorneys, Lisa Kaufman and Brian Smith on Friday before District Judge James Wheelis, asking the two cases to be tried separately.
At her appearance, there was a brief dispute about having her handcuffs removed while in court.
Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst explained what happened.
“The defendant asked to be uncuffed so she could take notes, and our response was based on prior incidents that occurred at the detention facility, so we asked for her to remain cuffed,” said Pabst. “The judge ordered that she be able to take notes, so we adapted our security plan to comply with the judge’s order.”
Pabst explained why Pierce was requesting that the two separate cases, one being the Montana Street incident where Pierce is charged with attempted deliberate homicide and assault with a weapon, and the Strand Avenue case where she is charged with the double murder and dismemberment, that they be heard in two separate trials.
“They argued that the trials be separated because of the prejudice caused by the jury hearing one set of facts and making assumptions then about the other,” she said.
Pabst explained the prosecution’s argument that the two cases be tried together.
“We responded that in the interest of judicial economy they should remain together,” she said. “Our argument is that each of the sets of facts would be admissible in the other trial, so it would be a complete duplication of efforts and resources and we’re trying to conserve a precious resource.”
Pierce and her co-defendant Augustus Standingrock are in the Missoula County Jail on $2 million bond.
Judge Wheelis has taken both arguments under consideration and will issue his decision at a later date.
Pabst said Pierce will be tried in September, while Standingrock will face trial in November.