The 52-year-old man accused of shooting and killing another man outside his Marion home denied the murder charge levied against him.
Mark Bolton Ames appeared before Judge Heidi Ulbricht in Flathead County District Court on Feb. 6 and pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide. The charge also includes a weapons enhancement factor, since a firearm was used.
Prosecutors say Ames killed Harold Gordon, 60, during an early morning dispute on Jan. 12. Ames has since been held at the Flathead County Detention Center on $500,000 bond.
During the arraignment hearing, Ames’ attorneys, Nicholas Aemisegger and Greg Rapoch, asked the judge for Ames to be allowed to speak with his family while he’s incarcerated.
Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan disputed the allowance, saying that Ames is not supposed to have contact with witnesses or victims in this case, which includes his family members.
Ulbricht did not rule on the request, and told the defense that they would have to properly notify the court for a hearing on the matter.
According to charging documents and a report from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Gordon and Ames were living in Gordon’s residence, which was a duplex with separate apartments, during the time of the shooting. The sheriff’s office reported that Ames’ wife was renting one of the apartments.
At some time between midnight and 1:44 a.m. on Jan. 12, Ames allegedly fired several rounds from an AK-47 into Gordon’s apartment. Prosecutors say Gordon then grabbed a shotgun and left his apartment to confront Ames.
At that point, Ames allegedly shot and killed Gordon with a .32-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Undersheriff Dave Leib reported that Gordon was hit at close range. Responding emergency crews took Gordon to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, but he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The men had a strained history, according to temporary restraining orders on file at Flathead County District Court. Gordon applied for a restraining order against Ames in June 2012, which was granted and supposed to remain in effect until Aug. 14, 2014. Despite that, the two men were apparently living in the same building.
In the restraining order, Gordon asked that Ames not go “near my home or property, or harm or harass anyone living on my property.” The order also asks for the restraining order to apply in part of Washington, and indicates that Ames had allegedly threatened Gordon with a firearm in the past.
If found guilty of deliberate homicide, Ames’ possible sentences range from a minimum of 10 years in prison to a life term. The weapons enhancement could add anywhere from two to 10 years to the sentence.