NewsCrime and Courts


Butte bondsman and assistant found guilty of homicide in fatal shooting of William Harris, III

Nicholas Jaeger was found guilty of deliberate homicide, and Jay Hubber was found guilty of deliberate homicide by accountability.
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Posted at 12:20 AM, Mar 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-15 17:00:20-04

BUTTE — A jury Thursday evening found a Butte bondsman and his assistant guilty in the shooting death of a Butte man in his home in 2021.

Butte Deputy County Attorney Kelli Fivey confirmed that Butte bondsman Jay Hubber and Nicholas Jaeger were both found guilty of aggravated burglary. Jaeger also was found guilty of deliberate homicide and Hubber was found guilty of deliberate homicide by accountability.

The 12-member jury found Hubber and Jaeger responsible for the shooting death of William Harris in his home at 815 Main Street the evening of Dec. 19th, 2021. Hubber recruited Jaeger to assist him in picking up a man wanted for skipping bond who was staying in Harris’ home. The pair entered the home without permission and Hubber started struggling with the man he was trying to arrest. Harris demanded the men leave his home as Hubber wrestled with the wanted man. In the Chaos, Jaeger got Hubber’s gun and fatally shot Harris twice.

During the trial, Defense attorneys for Hubber and Jaeger argued that their clients had the legal right to enter the home to make the arrest and the shooting was in self-defense. After seven days of testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments to the jury Thursday morning. By that evening, the jury came back with the guilty verdicts.

In May 2023, Gov. Greg Gianforte signed HB 62—a bill that was proposed in response to Hubber and Jaeger's case and passed during the 2023 Montana legislative session—into law. The law requires, among other provisions, that bail bondsmen have no felony convictions, a high school diploma, and complete 40 hours of training to be licensed. You can read the full text of the law here: