Kaleb Daniels has been found guilty of attempted deliberate homicide.
The jury returned the guilty verdict late Wednesday afternoon; the trial began on Monday.
Daniels was charged after he and Jory Strizich were arrested following a burglary and shoot-out with a homeowner northwest of Wolf Creek in December 2016.
Lewis & Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher told the jury that evidence put Daniels in the cabin on the day of the crime.
He said the SUV that Daniels was riding in contained two guns, binoculars, a meth pipe, and heavy duty bolt cutters. He said Daniels was there that day to grab whatever he wanted.
Gallagher told the jury that five shell casings from a .25 caliber pistol were found at the corner of the cabin where Daniels exchanged shots with cabin owner Marshall Buus
Gallagher said Daniels intended to kill Buus when he pointed a gun in Buus’ face.
Defense attorney Steven Scott asked the jury to convict his client of burglary, and nothing else.
“You should find him guilty of burglary, and I’m Kaleb’s lawyer,” said Scott. “But not guilty of attempted deliberate homicide, or tampering with evidence. He didn’t have a gun.”
“Kaleb is a burglar. Kaleb is not a murderer,” said Scott.
The prosecutor in the case said Daniels disposed of the gun somewhere in the 10 miles between the Buus cabin and Wolf Creek, where he was arrested about two hours later.
The weapon was never recovered.
The jury also found Daniels guilty of aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence.
Daniels is being held without bond.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13th.
(JULY 11, 2017) The trial of Kaleb Daniels on a charge of attempted deliberate homicide is underway in Helena.
Witness accounts of the shooting on Little Wolf Creek Road last year were heard in District Court on Tuesday.
Marshall Buus took the witness stand and recalled the details of the December 28, 2016, incident when he and his wife saw two people leave their cabin north of Wolf Creek as they pulled into their driveway.
Under questioning by Lewis & Clark County Attorney Leo Gallagher, Buus described how he approached the passenger side of a dark SUV parked in his driveway and demanded to know what the driver was doing.
Buus told the jury that the suspect, later identified as Daniels, pointed a pistol at Buus’ face at close range.
“He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a chrome-plated automatic pistol and sticks it in my face and starts yelling at me something like ‘Get back,’ or ‘Get out,’ or something like that,” said Buus.
Gallagher asked Buus if he could describe the person holding the gun.
“I don’t remember anything other than a pistol in my face at that point.”
Buus said as he backed away from the vehicle, his wife gave him a handgun from their truck. That’s when a second suspect at the cabin approached him.
Buus said he started yelling for the suspect to stay where he was. When the suspect continued to approach him, Buus said he fired a warning shot in the ground.
When the second suspect continued moving forward, Buus said he fired another warning shot that the suspect “stepped into," and was wounded in the leg.
The suspect exclaimed, “You shot me!”
By that time, Daniels had positioned himself behind the cabin and he exchanged shots with Buus. Five shell cases were found on the ground by investigators at that location.
Buus said he heard one shot. He said since he didn’t want to shoot his cabin, he fired near where Daniels was standing.
As Daniels ran away, Buus said Daniels fired two more shots over his shoulder. Buus heard the second suspect calling to Daniels, “Don’t leave me! Come back and get me!”
Both suspects were captured later that day.
Buus told the jury the encounter probably took all of two minutes to unfold. “It was all a blur,” he said.
After the suspects left the area, 911 dispatchers advised Buus and his wife to stay in their truck to keep warm.
“What did you feel then?” asked Gallagher.
“You can’t explain it,” said Buus as he described pacing back and forth in front of his truck that cold December morning.
“Knots in the stomach, scared about what could happened to my family, my daughter, my son-in-law, my grandson.”
The trial continues on Wednesday.