Jesse Valdez, accused of killing fellow inmate Gordon Cochran in the Hill County jail on November 17th, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of deliberate homicide, according to the Havre Herald .
Valdez also faces a felony burglary charge related to an incident in which he allegedly kicked in the door to someone’s home, as well as two misdemeanor charges. Those charges relate to the incident that originally landed him in the Hill County Detention Center.
Valdez was arrested four days before Cochran, who was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on November 16th.
Court documents say Cochran was killed during a fight in his cell with Valdez. Detention officers, who were alerted by other inmates, could not find a pulse after finding Cochran’s body.
By the time he was taken to the hospital in Havre, Cochran was declared dead. He was 54 years old.
Valdez remains in custody in the Hill County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.
(NOVEMBER 18, 2019) Gordon Wayne Cochran, an inmate at the Hill County Detention Center in Havre, died after being involved in an altercation with another inmate.
Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross said in a news release on Monday morning that at about 6:38 p.m. on Sunday, a detention officer requested medical assistance for an inmate who had been involved in what Sheriff Ross called an "altecation" with another inmate.
An ambulance was called, and emergency personnel took Cochran to Northern Montana Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Cochran, originally from Chinook, was 54 years old. According to the Havre Herald , he arrived in the jail on Saturday and was being held on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The name of the other inmate has not yet been released.
Sheriff Ross said that the Division of Criminal Investigation from the Montana Department of Justice will be investigating the circumstance of the incident, as is standard procedure whenever a suspect or inmate dies while in custody. In addition, a coroner from outside Hill County has been requested, in accordance with Montana statute. R.J. Brown, the Petroleum County coroner, will fulfill the duties in this case.
No other details have been released at this point; we will update you as we get more information.