Winter appears in court for status hearing


KALISPELL, Mont. - Justine Winter appeared via teleconference in Flathead County Court Wednesday morning for a status hearing. The Evergreen teen is currently incarcerated at the Montana Women's Prison in Billings.

The now 19-year-old was convicted in 2011 for intentionally crashing her vehicle into another, killing  a pregnant mother and her son. Defense attorney Scott Carlson asked Judge Katherine Curtis to give Winter credit for her time on house arrest preceding her trial, effectively lowering her sentence time. Curtis said she would not consider that issue at the hearing. 

"The court considered at the time, and still considers a very lenient sentence for the offenses for which Ms. Winter was convicted," said Curtis. "And clearly below the state's recommendation and below the request of the victim's families."

Winter has to serve seven and a half years, half of her sentence, before she's eligible for parole. She's currently seeking a new trial, citing ineffective assistance of trial counsel and appellate counsel, and failure of prosecutors to disclose material.

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