Second Accused Motel Murderer Appears In Missoula Justice Court [WATCH]
The second suspect in a brutal series of attacks at a Missoula supermarket and a hotel in December appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Monday, held on $1 million bail.
32 year-old Sarah Rae McKnight heard the charges against her by Chief Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks, who asked substitute Justice of the Peace Ryan Phelan that bail be continued at $1 million.
According to court documents, Missoula County Attorney Kirsten Pabst charged Sarah Rae McKnight and Scott Allan Price with felony conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping, felony accountability for attempted deliberate homicide, felony deliberate homicide, felony tampering with or fabricating with physical evidence, and felony theft.
According to complaints filed by the Missoula County Attorney's Office, a female victim in the Missoula Fresh Market parking lot on Monday, December 21, was stabbed in the abdomen with a knife. Price then escaped in a black Honda as the victim yelled for help. She was later transported to Community Medical Hospital where she was treated for multiple stab wounds in the middle of her stomach, just above her diaphragm. She also had two defensive stab wounds on her left hand.
The same day, Lonette Keehner was working as a housekeeper across Brooks Street at the Super 8 Motel. Documents report that around 12:50 p.m., Missoula City Police were dispatched to the motel, where they found Keehner face down in one of the hotel rooms. There was significant injury to her throat and was later pronounced dead. Police found the black Honda behind the Super 8.
"There were fresh tire tracks in the snow and the windows were free of snow or ice, indicating the vehicle had been recently driven," Pabst said. As officers ran the registration VIN number, they discovered McKnight's name. Inside the car, officers recovered a bloody knife from under the front passenger seat. Law enforcement then discovered Keehner's vehicle to be missing from the parking lot, a red 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, which was later discovered in Idaho.
"[The car] was subsequently recovered in Idaho," Pabst wrote. "Law enforcement spoke with a woman who admitted driving Sarah McKnight and Scott Price from the place they left Lonette's car to a motel in Coeur d'Alene. Law enforcement arrested Price and McKnight on outstanding warrants and searched the motel room."
The following is the concluding charging document from Pabst:
Detectives from Missoula interviewed McKnight. She told them that she had met up with Price in Great Falls the previous week while she was there for a federal court appearance. It was her understanding that Price was on the run after committing a murder in Miles City. She knew Price through her husband and, according to their presence on social media, all claimed white supremacist ties. McKnight indicated that she and Price were regularly using methamphetamine through the ensuing events. McKnight said that she and Price drove from Great Falls to Missoula in her dark colored Honda. Once in Missoula they determined that they needed money and a more reliable vehicle. She said they purchased duct tape and zip ties with the plan to kidnap a person with a vehicle they wanted, take the vehicle, and force the person to disclose PIN numbers for any debit cards they might have. The zip ties were recovered from McKnight's Honda and a roll of duct tape was recovered from the motel room in Coeur d'Alene. McKnight indicated that they were looking for a potential target in the Fresh Market parking lot when they encountered the female victim. She said that she did not hear the exchange between Price and the victim, but did know that Price stabbed the victim and then got into the car with a bloody knife and told her to drive. She did drive away. McKnight said that they parked behind the Super 8 motel and went into the motel looking for someone to rob in order to get a new car. She said that they found Lonette cleaning a room. She said Price physically assaulted Lonette and forced her to empty her pockets and describe her car. He took the car keys and hotel passkey away from Lonette and gave them to McKnight. Scott Price had Sarah McKnight open the door across the hall and he then forced Lonette into the other room. McKnight reassured a guest that was concerned by the noise that everything was fine and then went outside and began transferring her and Price's belongings to Lonette's car. McKnight said that Price ran out of the Super 8 and they left in Lontette's car. She said Price told her that he had killed Lonette and, as they were driving through town, he threw a bloody knife out the window of the car. That knife has been recovered by Missoula City Police based on McKnight's description of where Price threw it. Price was interviewed and confessed to killing Lonette. He attributed his actions to his methamphetamine use. He was unclear about what he had done in the Fresh Market parking lot but did admit to striking a woman while holding a knife in his hand.
Bail for McKnight was continued at $1 million.