- January 9, 2008
was born, Vanyel
Anderson-Colbeth had already made one fatal
she had been
born a girl. A nurse said that Shanara Anderson seemed
the birth of her daughter:
first came into
the room, (Anderson) was postpartum. The family was
and touching and passing the baby around and Shanara
was angry, would not look at,
would not hold, would not
anything with the baby. And I asked her, ‘ Well, how
day?' Most new mothers want to talk to you about their
and tell you how it was. She was just mad and she
said, ‘I'm pissed off.' And
I asked her why and
a girl, and I really wanted a boy and
so does my
Shanara left her
daughter in the nursery at the hospital and left. She claimed to
have a dentist
appointment the next day.
short life, Vanyel
and her mother would move to town called Bozeman,
with a man Shanara
had not seen in a long time. Jeff Rattey said he had not seen her
in a long
time and even so, he proposed to her over the phone and then on January
8, 2008, drove from Bozeman to Glendive to pick up Shanara, her
old daughter Elora and her baby daughter Vanyel.
at his house
the next night. Rattey said that the baby started crying and that
went to check on her, she came back to bed and said that she had thrown
a jacket over the bassinet. When he left for work at about 7:00am
day, he saw that the jacket was still there and he could hear the
called 911 and told them that her daughter was not breathing. Medical
took the baby to Deaconess Hospital where she was pronounced
had told police that at she went to check on the baby at about
because she was crying. She claimed she didn't see the jacket on the
at that time and suggested that her other daughter could have put it
Kemp, the Deputy
State Medical Examiner, did an autopsy. His con- conclusion was that
died of an undetermined cause and manner. Walter Kemp found that Vanyel
had rib fractures and cerebral edema, excessive fluid in the substance
of the brain.
Detective Any Knight contacted Shanara who said that she did not kill
and said that maybe her daughter, Elora, had been the one
told Andy Knight that she had been having some trouble sleeping
she suffers from depression. She said she may have
forgotten to take
and might had suffered from temporary insanity"
felt like I
had no control over anything in my life"
Shanara told him that she was going to plead guilty, then awhile later
she requested an attorney, which ended the interview.
charged with the
deliberate homicide of Vanyel. She plead not guilty in court,
Holly Brown and was held at the Gallatin County Detention Center
bond. Chief Deputy County Attorney Todd Whipple
was not going
to seek the death penalty against Shanara.
Anderson, who was 22 at the time, was in court with her attorney, Peter
Ohman, to enter a plea of not guilty. Shanara didn't say anything at
her court appearance.
wants infant homicide charges dropped
County prosecutors and the attorneys for a Glendive woman accused of
killing her 3-month-old daughter have asked a District Court judge to
dismiss the long-lingering deliberate homicide case.
on each side of the case recently filed motions asking Judge Mike
Salvagni to dismiss charges against Shanara Anderson, 25, who was
accused in February 2009 with killing her infant daughter, Vanyel, more
than a year earlier.
defense attorneys, Chris Abbott and Edmund Sheehy Jr., filed a motion
to dismiss the case, saying it has been floundering in the judicial
system for more than three years, a violation of their client's right
to a speedy trial.
County Attorney Marty Lambert also filed a motion to dismiss the case
last Friday, though on different grounds.
is the second time Lambert has asked Salvagni to drop the charges.
the first instance - after the judge had precluded the use of
Anderson's statement to investigators and most of the physical evidence
- Lambert argued he essentially had no evidence left to try the case.
Salvagni denied that motion, and Lambert, in turn, appealed the judge's
medical examiner's autopsy on the infant found bruising on the baby's
brain, suggesting "a delayed death following a lethal event," according
to court documents. The examiner also discovered several rib fractures
"indicative of non-accidental trauma, most likely due to compression of
the chest or ... direct blows to the trunk."
had ruled none of that evidence could be presented at trial, save for a
single rib fracture sustained shortly before the baby's death.
Montana Supreme Court, in a landmark decision in December, unanimously
overturned Salvagni's ruling, saying the district court judge was not
wrong but that the legal precedent he relied upon was. They ordered the
medical examiner's evidence should be permitted.
that decision, Lambert contends he still does not have sufficient
evidence to try Anderson in Gallatin County.
the Supreme Court permitted the state to introduce evidence of the
repeated injuries to Vanyel, the state is still without the evidence of
the defendant's statement to law enforcement," Lambert wrote in his
Lambert contends he can't prove the abuse happened in Bozeman. Two
forensic experts concluded they could not "conclusively opine that
Vanyel suffered abuse in Gallatin County," he wrote.
in their argument to dismiss the case, Abbott and Sheehy argued
Anderson had only arrived in Bozeman a day before Vanyel's death and
returned to Glendive shortly thereafter.
contend Anderson suffered unduly from the long period she has waited to
learn her fate.
was held nearly six months in a jail more than 350 miles from her home
and had "virtually no ties to the Bozeman area," they wrote.
Anderson was allowed to return to Glendive with a GPS monitor, she was
"subjected to public scorn," endured "taunts of baby-killer" and had
difficulty finding employment beyond minimum-wage jobs.
response to Lambert's motion, Anderson's attorneys filed another motion
with Salvagni to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning no future
charges could be brought against her regarding the baby's death.
Lambert had not specifically asked the judge to dismiss the case
without prejudice, he did leave the door open for future charges to be
filed when he wrote, "The matter of whether the defendant should be
charged with any crime committed in Dawson County" or elsewhere in the
state was referred to the state attorney general's office.
has not yet made a ruling.
Response To Shanara Anderson Motion Dismiss
May 25, 2011
Mike Salvagni grants the
states motion to dismiss the charges against Shanar Andeersn and orders
the State to file a reply about Anderson's requst that the case be
dismissed without prejudice.
Court closes, reopens
Glendive woman accused of killing infant in Gallatin County A
deliberate homicide case involving a Glendive woman who is accused of
killing her 3-month-old daughter was dismissed then reopened the next
day in Gallatin County.
Tuesday afternoon, Judge Mike Salvagni granted a request from county
prosecutors to dismiss the deliberate homicide charge against Shanara
Anderson. Prosecutors claimed they did not have sufficient evidence to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Anderson committed the crime of
deliberate homicide in Gallatin County, according to court documents.
was reopened again less than 24 hours later after the court received
paperwork from Anderson.
is accused of killing her 3-month-old daughter, Vanyel
Anderson-Colbeth, in January 2008. She called 911 that day to say her
baby was not breathing. An autopsy could not pinpoint the baby girl's
cause of death.
April 2010, Salvagni ruled that statements made by Anderson the day
after her 3-month-old daughter died could not be used against her
during her trial. Salvagni ruled that Detective Andy Knight ended the
Miranda warning by saying "It's the TV talk," which Salvagni says was
giving lip service to the warning.
the judge tossed out Anderson's statements, the state filed a motion to
dismiss the case in April 2010, claiming it could not meet its burden
of proof beyond a reasonable doubt, according to court documents. The
motion was denied.
this time, in its second motion to dismiss, the court understood the
crux of the state's motion to be that prosecutors do not have
sufficient evidence to prove that a crime was committed in Gallatin
County, court papers state.
granted the motion to dismiss and the case was closed on Tuesday, May
24. Anderson's trial, which was set to begin on Aug. 15, was vacated.
the next day, Wednesday, May 25, it was reopened.
because on Wednesday, May 25, the court received a response from
Anderson to the state's motion to dismiss the case. Court papers say
that the judge did not consider Anderson's response when preparing the
May 24 order to dismiss the case.
the response, Anderson asks that her case be dismissed with prejudice,
and "it appears the state contests such a dismissal," court documents
court concludes, upon reopening the case, that the state should be able
to file a brief addressing Anderson's position that the case should be
dismissed with prejudice.
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