Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Suspect charged in Westwolf death; Montana reps vote for new speaker; Threats against McCarthy

Sunny White gets charged in connection with Mika Westwolf's death
Montana Public Radio | By Austin Amestoy

The Lake County Attorney’s Office has charged a 28-year-old woman in connection with the death of an Indigenous woman near Arlee earlier this year.

Sunny K. White is charged with five felonies including vehicular homicide.

Investigators said White struck and killed 22-year-old Mika Josephine Westwolf in late March. Westwolf was walking along Highway 93 during the early morning hours on March 31, according to police.

Charging documents said cell phone data placed White at the scene of the crash at 3:00 a.m. The police said they found White with front-end damage on her car. They said White tested positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine.

White has been a suspect in the case for months and faced separate charges in May for allegedly breaking into a Butte home and illegally taking her two children with her.

A spokesperson for Montana Highway Patrol told the Missoulian earlier this year that White was being investigated for Westwolf’s death and that the agency was waiting on search warrants and lab results.

In a statement posted to Facebook, Westwolf’s mother, Carissa HeavyRunner, wrote, “While there is a sense of relief and satisfaction that charges are finally being pressed, it also serves as a painful reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by countless families in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives movement.”

White is set to make an initial appearance in Lake County District Court Wednesday morning.

Mike Johnson gets support from Montana's Republican Congressional Representatives
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien

Newly-minted U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson has the enthusiastic backing of both Montana’s Republican Congressional Representatives.

Matt Rosendale, who represents Montana’s eastern district, released a statement Wednesday saying he proudly supports Mike Johnson.

Three weeks ago, Rosendale voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy over his support of a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown. Rosendale supports the passage of 12 separate appropriations bills, which he said is the most transparent and responsible way to fund the government. The House has passed four such bills.

In his statement Wednesday, Rosendale said he trusts Speaker Johnson will bring forward the remaining eight bills.

Montana’s western district Representative, meanwhile, took to social media to express his support for the new Speaker.

Congressman Ryan Zinke said he has Johnson’s assurance that he’s focused on ‘securing the border, reigning in Biden’s anti-American spending and taking care of our troops and veterans.’

Billings man gets accused of threatening to murder Rep. Kevin McCarthy
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien

A Billings man is accused of threatening to murder U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

44-year-old Richard Lee Rogers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an indictment charging him with threats to injure and murder a member of Congress. Rogers was also charged with making harassing telephone calls.

If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces a maximum of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

The indictment alleged that Rogers threatened to assault and kill McCarthy, the former Speaker of the U.S. House, on February 3.

Following his appearance in U.S. District Court in Billings Tuesday he was released pending further court proceedings.

In an unrelated case from last month, another Billings man, Anthony James Cross, was accused of threatening to kill President Joe Biden and Montana U.S. Sen. Jon Tester.

Kevin Patrick Smith of Kalispell was sentenced this summer to 2.5 years in federal prison for threatening to kill Sen. Tester.

Austin graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program in May 2022. He came to MTPR as an evening newscast intern that summer, and jumped at the chance to join full-time as the station’s morning voice in Fall 2022.

He is best reached by emailing
Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
(406) 243-4065
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information