31 year-old Katie Garding of Stevensville has spent the last several years in the Montana State Prison after having been convicted of the hit and run death of Bronson Parsons in East Missoula in 2008.

The Montana Innocence Project has continued to work on Garding's behalf by citing that Garding did not receive adequate representation at her trial, and that evidence that could have proved her innocent was not produced. Clinical and Legal Director Larry Mansch related just some of the evidence that was not produced at Garding's original trial.

"A young man named Bronson Parsons was struck from behind while walking along the road in East Missoula, and unfortunately, he was killed," Mansch said. "We had a number of well-known professionals that reconstructed the accident scene, something that was never done during the original trial, and concluded that it was not physically possible for a vehicle to strike Mr. Parsons and throw the body over 100 feet and come away without any damage, since Katie's vehicle showed no damage."

Mansch said the petition to rehear Garding's case was filed last September, and his team was prepared to appear in court last week and into the first part of this week.
"Judge (John) Larson had set a hearing to begin last Friday and then continue into today and tomorrow," he said. "But, then in the light of a ruling he made on the eve of trial and other issues that had come up, we moved to continue the hearing date. So, we are developing additional evidence to prove that Katie was wrongly convicted."

Mansch said the next court appearance could be within 60 to 90 days, and until then, Garding was transported back to the Montana State Prison, where she has been incarcerated since receiving a 40 year sentence in 2011.

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