Woman charged in murder case denies bail jumping

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MEEKER

A Kalispell woman charged in connection with an April homicide in Evergreen pleaded not guilty to a felony bail-jumping charge on Thursday.

The bail-jumping charge was issued when Heather Joy Meeker, 25, failed to appear for a court hearing July 19 regarding her alleged connection with the April murder of Anthony Andrew Walthers.

Meeker, 25, now faces the felony bail-jumping charge in addition to a felony charge of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

According to court documents, Meeker said she witnessed Cecil Rice push a man later identified as Walthers off the Old Steel Bridge in Evergreen on April 26.

After leaving the scene, Meeker allegedly threw a backpack believed to belong to Walthers out of Rice’s minivan in an attempt to conceal it from law enforcement. In early June, boaters discovered Walther’s body floating at the mouth of the Flathead River.

Meeker pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence in Flathead County District Court in May. If convicted she could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000.

If she is convicted of felony bail jumping Meeker could face an additional 10 years in prison.

A pretrial conference and plea agreement deadline for each case is set for March 7, 2018.

A jury trial is set in each matter beginning April 2, 2018. The case is being presided over by Judge Dan Wilson.

Rice, 27, who is charged with the deliberate homicide of Walthers, pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial Nov. 27.

Reporter Breeana Laughlin can be reached at 758-4441 or blaughlin@dailyinterlake.com.

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