Posted on: June 14, 2021, 11:16h.
Last updated on: June 14, 2021, 11:48h.
A Montana man who decapitated a winning casino player in 2017 was sentenced to 65 years in prison for deliberate homicide.
Donald Ray Cherry, 34, was given the prison term Friday in the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings for the killing of Myron Wesley Knight. The death was connected to a robbery after the bandits met Knight at Montana’s Lil’s Casino.
That night, Cherry and a second defendant, Jeffery Glen Haverty, 37, murdered Knight with a hatchet. They also decapitated him while they were at a campsite near the casino.
Knight’s headless body later was found on a dirt trail near the transient camp. After the decapitation, Cherry allegedly hid Knight’s remains.
His head was found 30 feet away. It was wrapped in a towel under a pile of leaves.
A medical examiner said that Knight was probably still alive when they started cutting his head off. Cherry later admitted in court he and Haverty robbed and killed Knight.
Each of the three men were regulars at the casino. They knew each other before the fatal incident.
Victim Only Had $6 When Killed
Knight had won $120 at the casino that day. But he soon gave the money to a gaming property employee for safekeeping. Knight only had $6 when he was killed by the duo.
During Friday’s court proceeding, Cherry appeared detached. He was seen doodling on a notepad, The Billings Gazette newspaper reported. He did not speak to Montana’s Yellowstone County District Judge Gregory Todd, who announced the sentence.
The incredible senselessness of this crime is staggering,” Todd scolded Cherry during the sentencing, the Gazette said.
Todd also questioned the plea bargain worked out for Cherry, which dropped some of the charges.
“I think people would say (this sentence) is less than appropriate,” Todd said. “But I agreed to follow it, so I’m going to follow it.”
Cherry also will get more than 3.5 years taken off his sentence for time he already spent in jail.
The Gazette also reported that several of Knight’s relatives were present in the courtroom during the sentencing.
The Devil Is In You
Madeline Grey Mountain, Knight’s cousin, said, “He didn’t deserve what they put him through.”
Mountain then told Cherry, “The devil is in you and there may be no saving your soul. But that will be God’s judgement to make.”
Haverty was previously sentenced to 50 years in prison for the robbery and killing. That sentence was announced in February 2020.
Since his arrest, Cherry allegedly attacked a jail guard on Christmas Eve. He also was cited for 75 write-ups in jail for alleged misconduct.