Missoula Murder Suspect Marriage Unlikely, ‘Spousal Privilege’ Explained
Court records show that murder suspects Augustus Standingrock and Tiffany Pierce may be trying to getting married. The two are accused of homicide in the brutal slaying of 15-year old Marilyn Pickett and 24-year-old Jackson Wiles. The suspects were also charged with tampering with evidence after police caught them in the process of trying to dissolve the victim’s bodies in chemicals. According to Missoula County Chief Deputy Attorney Jason Marks, Standingrock and Pierce nuptials are unlikely.
"I can tell you that there is an order prohibiting them from having any sort of contact with each other, which would preclude them from getting married," Marks said. "I know it is not something the jail would allow, but, ultimately, if they want to pursue that request, I'm sure they will bring that before the judge that is hearing their case."
If the two were to get married, it would be the first between two inmates that Marks has seen, but it is something that is apparently frequently talked about in jail.
"[I haven't seen a marriage] between two inmates, but I will tell you that it is not uncommon for an inmate to want to get married while in the jail, or at least talk about it," Marks said. "Mainly because, I think a lot of people operate under a misunderstanding of how 'spousal privilege works', they tend to think that if they marry a witness in the case then that witness can't testify against them, which is not how it works."
There is something called ‘spousal privilege’ that lets communications between a married couples remain privileged and would not require them to testify against each other, however, according to Marks “it definitely wouldn’t apply to anything that happened before a marriage.”