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Trial starts for Billings man accused of shooting 3 people

Darrell Bryant
Posted at 1:47 PM, Apr 23, 2024

Trial began Monday afternoon in Yellowstone County District Court for Darrell Bryant, a Billings man accused of shooting three people August in 2023, including his pregnant wife and son.

All three victims survived the incident and will likely be appearing in court as witnesses. The trial kicked off with judge Collete Davies addressing the jury, before opening statements began.

The state is represented by deputy prosecutors Sabrina Currie and Autumn Irish. Irish gave the opening statement Monday, encouraging the jury to use common sense when coming to a decision.

"He shot all three of them in the small living room of their trailer home," Irish said. "Why would a father chase down, break down the door, and shoot to kill his 16-year-old son?"

The incident happened at the Golden Meadows Trailer Park located off King Avenue West in Billings. Prosecutors allege in court documents that Bryant kicked down the front door of their home before shooting his 16-year-old son, wife, and his son's friend.

The incident turned into a standoff for several hours, with police believing Bryant was still inside his home. Eventually, it was discovered he had fled with his girlfriend and was ultimately arrested in Columbus near the McDonald's.

Bryant is pleading not guilty to all nine charges, which include attempted deliberate homicide, criminal endangerment, assault with a weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm

"As you sit through this trial, please pay attention to the details," Irish said to the jury.

Bryant is being represented by public defenders Sarah Kottke and Joseph Zavatsky. Kottke gave the opening statement, arguing that there is more to the story than what the court documents show.

"This American dream (Bryant's wife) is claiming, it was an absolute nightmare for Darrell, where he was trapped in a real-life Groundhog's Day," Kottke said.

Kottke claimed that Bryant was justified in his reaction that day, due to his abusive living situation which had gone on for several years.

"Even if you do find that he intended to kill or cause serious harm, you'll find that he was justified in these actions because of the immediate fear he felt," Kottke said to the jury.

The first witness was called to the stand Monday afternoon and the trial will continue Tuesday. The trial is scheduled to last five days.