2 men charged in shooting death during botched bounty hunt

February 10, 2022 GMT

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — A Butte bail bondsman and another man are charged with deliberate homicide in a fatal shooting that happened while the men tried to take one of the bondsman’s customers into custody for failing to show up for a court hearing, Butte-Silver Bow County prosecutors said.

The bondsman, Jay Steven Hubber, and Nicholas Jaeger, both 32, not guilty Wednesday to the homicide charge in the Dec. 19 shooting death of William Harris, 42, The Montana Standard reported. They have also pleaded not guilty to aggravated burglary.

The homicide charge is filed under the state’s felony murder law, which says that if someone is killed during the commission of a forcible felony, anyone involved in the underlying felony is criminally culpable in the death.

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Hubber and Jaeger barged into Harris’ house looking for David Sandoval, who had a warrant out for his arrest for missing a court hearing, prosecutors said. Hubber had posted $15,000 in bonds on Sandoval’s behalf.

Hubber used a stun gun on Sandoval and they were wrestling as Hubber tried to take him into custody, witnesses told authorities, according to court documents

Harris tried to intervene and Jaeger used Hubber’s gun to shoot Harris, the documents said. Jaeger told officers he thought Harris was going to attack Hubber, according to charging documents.

Hubber’s attorney, Palmer Hoovestal, said in an interview that under the law, Hubber had the authority to execute the arrest warrant against Sandoval.

Jaeger’s attorney, David Maldonado, said his client will argue his use of force was justified.

Hubber has posted a $250,000 bond. Jaeger remains jailed, as does Sandoval.