A woman pleaded no contest to felony negligent homicide on Thursday in District Court, according to The Havre Herald .
Eighth Judicial District Judge John Parker, who appeared via video, will sentence Alaynna Gray sometime in the next seven to eight weeks. He did not set an exact date.
Gray signed a plea agreement Thursday that stipulates that in return for her plea, the state will recommend she serve two years with the Montana Department of Corrections and an additional 10 years of probation. The judge is not bound by the state’s recommendations.
Gray admitted in court that the events that led to Kyla Valdez’s death, as documented in court charging documents, are true and that enough evidence exists to prove she caused the victim’s death.
Court documents state that 911 received a call around 8:19 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2018, from a woman on Bullhook Road south of Havre who said she had been arguing with another woman whom she had left on the road hours earlier and at the time of the call was trying to find.
The document said a deputy found Gray about 15 miles south of Havre in a gray Chevrolet pickup truck and that she had apparently been drinking.
Gray told the deputy she had been drinking with the other woman, who had been driving. After the other woman drove into the ditch, Gray said, she took over driving.
The other woman became upset and the two started fighting, including Gray striking the other woman in the nose, which began to bleed profusely, and the two choking each other. Gray told the deputy she pushed the other woman out of the truck using her feet.
She said later, after another deputy arrived, that she had been almost out of gasoline at the time and drove to a gas station to buy more, then went to try to get help finding the other woman, but was unable to get help for the search.
The second deputy later found the other woman lying in the snow in the ditch by the road wearing only socks, gym shorts, a shirt, and light jacket.
The National Weather Service recorded a low of 12 degrees at its station at the Havre City-County Airport that night.
Medical personnel at the Havre hospital were able to revive the woman, who appeared dead when she was found in the ditch, and she was taken to a Great Falls hospital, where she died.
Valdez “is believed to have died of exposure to the elements after she was intentionally abandoned on a rural county road with inadequate clothing for the frigid temperatures,” according to a Hill County Sheriff’s Office press release.