Browning Man Pleads Guilty to Murder

Thomas Edward Mancha ran wife over with truck last winter

By Justin Franz

A 60-year-old Browning man admitted to running his wife over with a truck in January before driving in front of a train in an effort to commit suicide.

Thomas Edward Mancha pleaded guilty to an amended charge of second-degree murder during a change of plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Great Falls on Oct. 3. Mancha had previously pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and was set to stand trial this week.

Mancha will be sentenced in January. According to a plea agreement, the judge will likely sentence Mancha to 20 years in prison.

According to court records, another Glacier County man agreed to meet Mancha at a location called Camp Disappointment, east of Browning, where there is a monument commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. When the man arrived, he found Mancha holding his wife, Charlene, by the hair. According to the witness, Charlene cried for help before Mancha got into his pickup truck and ran her over twice.

The witness got in his car, drove away and called police. Mancha followed him but eventually turned off U.S. Highway 2 at a location near Blackfoot. After turning, Mancha drove his vehicle into the path of an oncoming train in an apparent suicide attempt, records state. Mancha survived his injuries and was treated at a Great Falls hospital where he was discharged and arrested three weeks later.

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