Friends, neighbors and strangers gathered on the Lake County Courthouse lawn late Monday morning, occassionally offering support with hugs, hand holding and holding their signs for others to read.
About 30 people, most of whom wore red, comforted each other as they protested the release of two people suspected in connection with the death of Cassandra Harris, 24, of Ronan last week.
“We’re angry because a local young lady was brutally murdered,” Amy Castlio, organizer of the protest, said.
Harris’ immediate family were present, but declined to speak with media.
Four people were taken into custody Saturday, June 23, for what law enforcement believes are their roles in connection to Harris’ death.
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Harris was found severely injured near McDonald Lake. She died after she was taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Those arrested June 23 include: Julia Vaile, 18, of Browning, Gale Hendrickx, 19, of Pablo, and Joseph Parizeau, Jr., 22, of Ronan, were arrested on charges of negligent homicide, and Donnovan Sherwood, 18, Arlee, was arrested on a charge of obstructing justice.
Castlio said that the protest was in response to the release on their own recognizance of Vaile and Hendrickx early last week following a Justice Court hearing.
As of Monday afternoon, Parizeau was still at the Lake County Jail on a $25,000 bond and Sherwood on a $60,000 bond.
Castlio said the situation is “so frustrating.”
Utilizing social media and word-of-mouth to let the community know of the protest, Castlio said that she didn’t know some of the people holding signs.
Among those were Pam and Gary DeNevi of Polson.
The couple, who live in Polson, have two daughters, one who lives nearby and another who will be moving closer in the near future.
“We just want justice,” Gary said.
Castlio said that her 17-year-old daughter was also at McDonald Lake with friends the night that Harris was found in the vicinity.
“That could’ve been any one of our daughters, any one of our family members.”
According to a representative in the District Clerk of Court’s office, court dates have not been processed as of Monday afternoon for Vaile, Hendrickx and Parizeau.
Sherwood is scheduled for arraignment today, Thursday, July 5 at 9 a.m.