Slain woman’s last words can’t be used in trial, judge rules

BILLINGS (AP) — A U.S. district judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot use a victim’s last words as evidence in her murder trial.

The Billings Gazette reports that 20-year-old Dimarzio Swade Sanchez’s trial began on Monday, but evidence that prosecutors called “dying declarations” cannot be used to prove whether he killed 28-year-old Roylynn Rides Horse.

Rides horse made the declarations on her death bed after she was burned and beaten in April 2016 on the Crow Indian Reservation.

Sanchez’s attorneys didn’t want her statements admitted as evidence, saying they don’t fit the definition of “dying declarations.”

Sanchez is charged with first-degree murder for her death. He is accused of beating her and then setting her on fire.

Sanchez is the third of three defendants in the case and the only one to go to trial.