HELENA — A federal grand jury indicted a Wyoming man Thursday on murder and assault charges in the fatal roadside shooting of a Montana man and his wife on the Crow Indian Reservation.
Jason and Tana Shane were killed and their daughter, Jorah, wounded on July 26 when they stopped to assist a man who claimed to be having car trouble near their home in the small town of Pryor, authorities and relatives have said.
The indictment charges Jesus Deniz, also known as Jesus Deniz Mendoza, with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of 51-year-old Jason Shane and 47-year-old Tana Shane. It also charges him with assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in the shooting of Jorah Shane, 26.
The indictment refers to the victims by their initials. The FBI previously confirmed Jason and Tana Shane were killed, and a relative identified Jorah Shane as the other person shot.
Deniz was arrested last week. He was to appear in Billings for a preliminary hearing on Friday, but prosecutors said in court filings the indictment makes that hearing unnecessary.
A new court date has not been set.
The gunman pointed a rifle at the family, ordered them out of their vehicle and demanded money, according to an FBI statement included with the criminal complaint filed after Deniz’s arrest.
When they told him they didn’t have any money, he ordered them to walk away from the car before opening fire, the FBI statement said.
The couple was killed on the roadside and their daughter was shot in the back as she ran away, the statement said.
Deniz told FBI agents he shot the victims because he was getting tired of waiting around and because the daughter laughed at him, the criminal complaint states.
Neither David Merchant, Deniz’s public defender, nor a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office returned calls for comment late Thursday afternoon.
The case is in federal court because the victims are Native Americans on an Indian reservation.
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