Friday, May 24, 2024

Sunny White attorney petitions for venue change

by Jeff Smith/For the Leader
| May 9, 2024 12:00 AM

The public defender representing a Butte woman, accused of running over and killing Arlee resident Mika Westwolf, filed a motion for a change of venue. Meghan Benson of the Missoula Public Defender’s office is representing Sunny Katherinne White, 29.

White is charged with accidents involving another person or deceased person and two counts of criminal child endangerment and criminal possession of dangerous drugs, all felonies. The charges stem from the hit-and-run death of 22-year-old Westwolf. The charges carry a combined maximum of 65 years in prison.

In the change of venue motion, Benson argues White would not get fair trial or an impartial jury due to an inflamed community and the publicity associated with the “Mika Matters Movement.” Benson cites a Mika Matters website that states that “Mika was murdered by someone who had a mission to come to the Rez to kill an Indian.”

She also argues that the Mika Matters movement “has tethered itself to the greater MMIW (missing and murdered indigenous women) that has swept not only Montana, but the nation as a whole.”

As it stands now, White is due back in court for a pre-conference hearing Aug. 28 with her trial set for Sept. 30. She is at liberty after posting a $200,000 bond.