Woman Involved with Flathead River Homicide Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor

Heather Meeker was to be released after pleading guilty to misdemeanor bail jumping

By Justin Franz

The 25-year-old woman who prosecutors accused of tampering with evidence in a 2017 murder case pleaded guilty to misdemeanor bail jumping in Flathead County District Court on Jan. 18.

Judge Dan Wilson sentenced Heather Meeker to six months in the Flathead County Detention Center with credit for 213 days served, according to a plea agreement. Prosecutors agreed to drop the felony tampering with evidence charge and amended the bail jumping charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

According to court documents, Meeker’s partner, Cecil Thomas Rice, pushed another man, 34-year-old Andrew Walthers, off a bridge in Evergreen on April 26, 2017, after Walthers made a comment about Meeker. After leaving the scene of the crime, Meeker allegedly found a backpack she believed belonged to Walthers and threw it out the window of a moving vehicle.

Rice was convicted of deliberate homicide at trial in December. He will be sentenced on Jan. 25.

Meeker was arrested and charged with felony tampering with evidence in April 2017. She initially pleaded not guilty to the charge. In July, after failing to appear at a pre-trial conference, Meeker was charged with felony bail jumping.

In December, Meeker was a key witness at Rice’s murder trial. The woman testified about the threats Rice had made to Walthers and how he joked about the murder later.

Meeker was released soon after the change of plea and sentencing hearing.