A jury trial is scheduled next year for a Madison County man accused of killing a woman he was dating and burying her on a ranch.

Stanley Gordon Bernardini, 56, is scheduled to stand trial starting March 9 for charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, both felonies. Bernardini is being held at the Gallatin County jail on $100,000 bail.

Madison County District Judge Luke Berger wrote in a hearing order that the trial is expected to last seven to 10 days.

Bernardini pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

Authorities found Michelle Sorrows’ body on June 3 where Bernardini told an informant that he had buried her, according to court documents. Sorrows was last seen in Ennis about a year ago and reported missing in August.

The source told the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations in November that Bernardini killed Sorrows in his apartment after a fight, according to charging documents. The informant said Bernardini put her body in the back of his truck and drove to a remote part of the Braxton/Jumping Horse Ranch in Madison County to dispose of it. Bernardini told the source he had to “finish her off” after Sorrows regained consciousness and tried escaping, police said.

The informant said Bernardini and Sorrows were dating, and Sorrows often stayed at Bernardini’s apartment, police said in charging documents.

The informant said Bernardini asked about a year ago how to remove blood from clothing from having to kill sick cows. The source said they didn’t know Sorrows was missing at that point.

Bernardini’s boss later denied his claim that he had to put down sick cows.

In November, police said they found human blood stains throughout Bernadini’s apartment. They also found a bottle of bleach in a trash bag and evidence that someone tried to clean up some of the blood.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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