(Gillette, Wyo.) Last week on April 25th, Kylee Collins appeared in Campbell County District Court due to the county prosecutor’s motion to consolidate her trial date with Michael Montano’s, the other suspect in a double homicide that occurred in Campbell County last fall.
The court was considering trying both suspects at the same time, but Judge Thomas Rumpke denied the motion and set Collins’ pretrial court date for June 20th, 2017. Her trial is tentatively scheduled to begin July 3rd in Judge Rumpke’s courtroom. Separate from Collins’ case, Michael Montano’s pretrial court date is still set for July 7th, 2017, in Judge Michael Nick Deegan’s courtroom.
Senate Bill 133, which passed the Wyoming Legislature last session, will take effect on July 1st, 2017. The new law states that a person who is found guilty of desecrating a corpse in an attempt to hide a related felony (like murder,) can be imprisoned for 10 years for each count.
Collins stands trial for two accessory to murder charges, as well as two counts of mutilation of a corpse. Montano is facing two second degree murder charges, as well as two counts of mutilation.
The September murder of 33 year old Phillip Brewer and 38 year old Jody Fortuna, two men who had recently moved to Gillette from Rock Springs, has shaken the communities of both Sweetwater and Campbell Counties. Brewer’s sister, Jennifer Stone, was integral to getting Senate File 133 written and passed. The original law stated that the maximum penalty for corpse mutilation was three years, which meant a suspect could potentially only receive probation for the crime. Stone wanted to change that to help any other loved one that had to endure what Brewer and Fortuna’s families did last year.
The bodies of both men had been dismembered and spread out over several crime scenes, making the case both gruesome and heartbreaking for the families involved.
“I could sit here all night and explain to you the frustration and anguish that our families endured during the month of searching, but that wouldn’t change the outcome of this tragedy,” said Stone last night, in a powerful speech at a fundraiser for Hospice of Sweetwater County. “The fact that my brother’s body was mutilated so badly I never got to see him one last time, took a huge toll on me and the rest of my family.”
You can watch the full video here.