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Montana homicide victim found beheaded told casino staff whom to blame if he didn’t return

December 6, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Montana homicide victim found beheaded told casino staff whom to blame if he didn’t return

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BILLINGS, Montana – A Montana man whose body was discovered without a head in a transient camp in November told the staff at a casino one night that if anything bad ever happened to him, Donald Cherry and Jeffrey Haverty would be the ones who are responsible.

This information was included in charging records that have been filed against 31-year-old Cherry and 33-year-old Haverty, according to the Billings Gazzette.

Both men are facing charges of deliberate homicide, which is punishable by life behind bars, or between 10 to 100 years, plus an additional two to 10 years for using a dangerous weapon. The men made their first court appearance in Yellowstone County in Montana on Monday.

David Carter, the Justice of the Peace, established bond for both suspects at $500,000 and ordered the two wear GPS monitors if either of them is released. Cherry and Haverty are scheduled to appear in front of Judge Mary Jane Knisely on December 21st.

Donald Cherry and Jeffrey Haverty

The remains of 41-year-old Myron Wesley Knight were recovered in a transient camp on November 15th. Two people walking on a dirt path noticed the body.

However, court documents allege that the victim was likely killed weeks prior.

Haverty, Cherry, and Knight were together at Montana Lil’s Casino, on the night of October 26th. Knight asked a staff member at the casino to keep his $120 in winnings for the night in case Haverty and Cherry wanted to steal it from him.

Knight also told the employee that if he did not return, that Haverty and Cherry would be behind it.

All three were regulars at the casino and were known to the employees that worked there.

The trio left the casino at 10 p.m. Knight wanted to see the campsite, Haverty later told detectives. Haverty and Cherry had been camping in a wooded area.

Cherry’s girlfriend, who is identified in documents as Z.W., told authorities that she had stayed at the camp with Haverty and Cherry, and was there on the night that Knight was murdered.

Later that night, the three men arrived at the campsite, Z.W. left to go to a gas station and came back around 15-20 minutes later. Knight’s body was lying on the floor with blood on his neck; she told officers. She added that it looked like he wasn’t breathing.

Z.W. observed Haverty start to cut Knight’s head off. He stopped when it became hard, and Cherry took over. Knight’s head was discovered roughly 30 feet away from the body, wrapped in a towel and concealed by leaves.

The beheading, she told detectives, was part of the men’s plot to get rid of the body. But they never burned Knight’s body in a fire pit as they intended.

Myron Wesley Knight

Knight only had $6 on him when he was murdered, according to Z.W., and Haverty was furious because he thought he would have much more.

Z.W. added that she went to the Magic Diamond Casino with Haverty and Cherry after they murdered the victim.

In separate statements to investigators, Haverty and Cherry contended that they didn’t know how Knight was killed and they were not involved in the incident.

Dr. Robert Kurtzman, the state medical examiner, revealed that Knight was probably still alive when his men began cutting off his head.

The autopsy also revealed multiple blunt force traumas, showing Knight had been beaten.

Haverty had been fired his job, was kicked out of his apartment in August, and had had his truck stolen, he said in statements to casino employees and to authorities. Cherry, his friend, had told him about the campsite.

On October 31st, a man walked into Montana Lil’s Casino with a bleeding head wound, asking to use the phone. He did not say what happened, but a couple of days later Haverty was at the casino and told employees that he had hit the man with a hatchet.

Casino staff also told authorities about another dispute in which Haverty walked into the casino and was “flailing” his hatchet around, claiming a man outside had tried to shoot him. The last time the casino staff saw Haverty was on November 3rd when he told them that he was going to move to Arizona.

Deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service and officers with the Montana Violent Offender Task Force apprehended Haverty at a friend’s house on November 18th. The friend later told authorities that Haverty had asked her how to get blood stains out of clothing.

Haverty was serving probation on a suspended sentence for criminal endangerment stemming from April.

Charging records indicate that in July 2016, Haverty smeared his own feces in his partner’s face and attacked her and their child, who was just over 1-year-old.

Haverty was also found guilty of partner or family member assault in 2014.

He is also facing a felony drug possession charge from the November arrest because he had a pipe in his pocket with traces of meth on it.

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