BOZEMAN — A southwest Montana man has pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend in 2018, reportedly during a fight after they had used meth and alcohol, court records said.
Stanley Gordon Bernardini, 57, of Ennis entered a plea agreement Tuesday as his trial was about to begin before District Judge Luke Berger in Virginia City, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.
Bernardini pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence in the death of Michelle Sorrows, 37.
An informant told investigators that Bernardini killed Sorrows in his apartment and used a backhoe to bury her on a ranch where he worked, court records said. Investigators found human bloodstains in Bernardini’s apartment and evidence of an effort to clean it up.
Bernardini was arrested for tampering with evidence and jailed in Bozeman. One Gallatin County inmate said Bernardini confessed to head-butting Sorrows during a meth- and alcohol-fueled fight. He told another inmate where he buried her body, which investigators found the following spring, court records said.
Bernardini’s attorney, Jill Gannon-Nagle, declined to comment on the plea agreement, in which prosecutors will recommend he be sentenced to 100 years in prison.
A sentencing date has not been set.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.