News & Features

Court Strikes Down Montana Man’s Kidnapping Conviction

61-year-old Vernon Kills On Top was originally sentenced to death for 1987 murder

BILLINGS — Prosecutors say a Montana man convicted of murder more than three decades ago and who was initially sentenced to death could be released from prison soon.

The Billings Gazette reported Monday that the state Supreme Court has struck down 61-year-old Vernon Kills On Top’s kidnapping conviction.

Kills On Top was convicted in the death of 23-year-old Marty Etchemendy in October 1987.

The Miles City man was kidnapped, robbed, beaten and left in the trunk of a car in Wyoming.

Kills On Top was initially sentenced to death but the court later overturned the sentence.

Prosecutors say Kills On Top was eligible for parole in 2015 based on his remaining convictions.

The state attorney general’s office has requested a resentencing hearing in Custer County District Court.