Missoula, Montana – A federal court has overturned a Stevensville woman’s conviction for vehicular homicide in the death of a man who was killed in East Missoula.
In 2011, Katie Garding was convicted of running over and killing 25-year-old Bronson Parsons on New Year’s Day in 2008 with her car. She received a 40-year prison term.
Judge Dana Christensen of the U.S. District Court decided that Garding’s conviction should be overturned owing to insufficient legal representation on Thursday.
The Department of Justice has until April 21 to file an appeal of the judge’s decision or to announce its intention to retry Garding, according to Christensen.
Since 2021, Garding has been on parole. Garding will not be retried or granted parole if no notice is made.
The Montana Innocence Project played a significant role in obtaining the reversal of Garding’s conviction. On the situation, the organization issued the following statement:
“MTIP obtained evidence that the State’s theory violates the laws of physics, meaning it is impossible for Katie’s vehicle to have been the striking vehicle. This evidence was presented to Montana’s Fourth Judicial District Court in Katie’s Petition for Post Conviction Relief and later to the Montana Supreme Court when we appealed the district court’s denial of the petition.
Both courts found Streano was not ineffective when failing to hire an accident reconstruction expert but this failure was based on a strategic decision. Streano expressly disavowed this both in her testimony and in the affidavit she submitted to the courts, stating this was a “terrible oversight” and not strategy. -Montana Innocence Project”