State Board Denies Parole For Justine Winter

Evergreen woman was convicted of two counts of deliberate homicide in 2011

By Justin Franz

Parole has been denied for the Evergreen woman convicted of deliberate homicide in 2011, according to the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole. Justine Winter, 21, appeared before the board on Tuesday at the Montana Women’s Prison in Billings.

According to Julie Thomas, the board’s senior parole analyst, the board did however endorse Winter for release to a pre-release center and said that she could appear before the board again in 2015.

“(A pre-release center) is a way for her to prove herself,” Thomas said. “And it puts her in a better position for parole in the future.”

Winter was 16 years old in March 2009 when she got into a fight with her boyfriend and later that night deliberately drove her car across the centerline of U.S. Highway 93 north of Kalispell, crashing into another vehicle, driven by 35-year-old Erin Thompson, who was pregnant at the time. Thompson and her son, 13-year-old Caden Odell, were both killed in the crash. In February 2011, Winter was found guilty of two counts of deliberate homicide. She was later given two, concurrent 30-year sentences with 15 years suspended on each.

Now Winter will have to apply to pre-release centers and, according to Thomas, if she is accepted will have to stay for at least a year before she could be considered for a parole again.

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