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Pleas entered in Butte homicide and marijuana cases

Pleas entered in Butte homicide and marijuana cases

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A judge entered a not guilty plea Wednesday on behalf of a woman accused of fatally stabbing a man inside a Butte house on Jan. 20.

In a separate case before District Court Judge Robert Whelan, a woman accused of giving marijuana to two 14-year-old boys while she was living in an apartment at Butte Central High School pleaded not guilty to four criminal charges, including two felonies.

Whelan entered the not guilty plea for 23-year-old Susan Marie Criss because her mental capacity to assist in her own deliberate homicide defense has been questioned.

Criss appeared in court for her arraignment Wednesday, but Whelan had already ordered last week that she undergo a mental health examination at the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs.

According to a public defender in the case, a neuropsychologist evaluated Criss on Jan. 31 and determined she wasn’t fit to proceed or assist in her own defense. The evaluation at Warm Springs is to be completed within 60 days, according to Whelan’s order.

Criss is accused of stabbing Mark William Woodger in the neck at a house in the 100 block of Trinity Loop in the early morning hours of Jan. 20. He was taken to St. James Healthcare but died within a few hours.

Criss told police Woodger was trying to hurt her infant baby and he cut her arm before she grabbed the knife and stabbed him with it. But prosecutors have charged her with deliberate homicide, which is punishable by death, life in prison or up to 100 years behind bars.

In a separate arraignment Wednesday, 43-year-old Amy James Kadrmas pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs on or near school property and two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

According to prosecutors, Amy Kadrmas and her husband, Brad Kadrmas, were living in an apartment at Butte Central High School last year with a 14-year-old boy and she provided marijuana to him and a 14-year-old friend. Brad Kadrmas was a math teacher at the school.

The misdemeanor charges allege she also encouraged the youths to use alcohol and cigarettes. Each felony count carries a minimum three-year prison term and up to life, while the misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail.

Whelan accepted the not guilty pleas and tentatively set the next court hearing for April 8, with Amy Kadrmas remaining free on bond.

Butte Central officials asked the Kadrmases to move out of the apartment in December after Amy Kadrmas was arrested. They also placed Brad Kadrmas on paid administrative leave.

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