Man Charged With Murdering His Common-Law Wife

DNA evidence led to the arrest of a Montana man in the fatal shooting of his common-law wife in July along Interstate 82.

At the time, Stephen Harwood said he and Sheryl Huntley were shot and robbed by a hitchhiker they picked up at a rest stop in the middle of the night.

Huntley, 40, was shot in the head and died at a hospital. Harwood, 34, of Thompson Falls, Mont., was shot in the hand.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that happenstance and recent DNA test results tied Harwood to the crime.

Nine days after Huntley's shooting near Selah, a man jumped to his death from a bridge just north of the Selah Creek rest area.

A state trooper investigating the suicide spotted a handgun. Because it was found so close to the site where Harwood claimed to have picked up the hitchhiker, detectives sent the gun to a crime lab.

DNA from blood inside the gun barrel matched DNA recovered from the car carrying Harwood and Huntley, authorities said.

Harwood was arrested Monday for investigation of murder in Butte, Mont., where he had been at a court-ordered drug treatment program on a misdemeanor intimidation charge.

An extradition hearing will be held for his return to Yakima.