Trial begins in Helena for man accused of shooting woman

Posted at 5:38 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 19:38:56-04

The trial began on Monday for Skyler Schneider, who is accused of shooting 23-year-old Katherine Spencer in Helena last July.

Opening statements began just before 4 p.m. The state called its first witness, Helena Police Department Captain Curt Stinson, who played a copy of the 911 call from July 1, 2017.

Prosecutors said the call is Schneider reporting that a woman had been shot in a vehicle on 12th Avenue and was bleeding badly.

Court documents state moments later the same man, Schneider, returned to the area north through the alley and was detained.

When police approached the vehicle, they found Spencer in the passenger seat suffering from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Police also described a single bullet hole in windshield directly in front of Spencer, and a spent 9MM shell casing outside the vehicle.

Police searched an area where a neighbor reported seeing Schneider following what the neighbor said sounded like fireworks. Detectives reported finding a 9MM semi-automatic handgun in that same area.

During questioning, police said Schneider denied shooting Spencer but did say the two had been in an argument earlier that evening.

If convicted, Schneider faces up to 100 years in prison.

(July 12, 2017)  Skyler T. Schneider has been arrested on charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence in Helena.

The Helena Police Department said in a press release that the 911 Center received a call just after 11:30 p.m. on Saturday about a woman being shot.

The caller – later identified as Schneider — said that his girlfriend was in a vehicle in front of 29 12th Avenue.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the 23-year old woman who had been shot.

She was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital, where she died from her injuries. 

Her name has not yet been officially released.

Officers later arrested Schneider, 21 years old, and arrested him on charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence.

Schneider is now in custody in the Lewis & Clark County Detention Center.

Assistant Chief of Police Steve Hagen said, "Detectives are currently interviewing other people to find out what exactly occurred. We did recover the hand gun, and as of right now there is not threat to the public."

There is no word yet on a possible motive.

No other details have been released at this point.