A 51-year-old Cheyenne, Wyo., woman was sentenced to at least two years in prison this week for helping cover up the murder of Chicago filmmaker Allen Ross, who authorities have long believed was killed by his cult leader, who was also his common-law wife.
Julia Williams will have to serve at least 24 months, but not more than 34 months, in prison for helping put Ross' body into a shallow grave in the Cheyenne home she shared with the couple, Laramie County District Judge Peter Arnold ruled Thursday.
Williams, who appealed the ruling, was also ordered to pay a $2,500 fine on the charges of being an accessory after the fact to murder. She also must pay $3,500 in public defender's fees.
Police found Ross' remains in the basement crawl space in 2000, five years after the Naperville native was reported missing. He had been shot once in the head, according to Dean Jackson, an investigator with the Laramie County district attorney's office.
Williams denied digging the grave but told police she helped move his body into the hole in the ground, Jackson said Friday. Calls made to public defender Diane Lozano were not returned.
Jackson said Linda Greene, the founder of the Samaritan Foundation based in Guthrie, Okla., killed Ross. Greene, who died of natural causes in 2002 at age 50, was interviewed by police but never charged with the murder.
"Linda Greene was identified as the killer. Based on the accumulations of facts that were written and the conversations and in viewing the evidence we had available, the jury ruled that Greene killed Ross and Williams helped cover it up," Jackson said. "The case is closed."
Ross and Williams were also members of the Samaritan Foundation, according to reports.
Ross' disappearance led his German independent filmmaker friend Christian Bauer to create the documentary ''Missing Allen" in 2001. It explores Greene's bizarre religious group and features interviews with family and friends and their theories on what could have happened to Ross.
Greene, a former nurse who talked to police about zombies and vampires, denied killing Ross in the film. Her now-defunct cult was suspected to have connections to David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.