Man Pleads Not Guilty in ‘Beer Pong’ Stabbing

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – A Missoula man charged with stabbing a University of Montana student during a drinking game pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted deliberate homicide.

Collan J. Sheppard, 23, initially faced a charge of assault with a weapon for the Sept. 20 fight that left 19-year-old Jerry B. Stewart with a severed artery. But prosecutors amended the charge after investigators determined that the alleged offense was more serious.

According to charging documents filed by Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks, the stabbing apparently was provoked by a drinking game called beer pong.

“All of the witnesses agreed that a verbal argument started over the rules of the beer pong game and that Sheppard and Stewart were involved in the argument,” the documents state. “Witnesses said the argument escalated … and a physical fight started.”

Stewart was hospitalized with a severed artery in his arm and a severe gash across his abdomen.

Sheppard ran from the house, but turned himself in to police several hours later after breaking into a nearby house to call 9-1-1. He appeared at Thursday’s hearing alongside his attorney, Lance Jasper, who has said Sheppard was acting in self-defense.

Sheppard also pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and trespassing, which were not listed in the original charging documents.