Woman Charged with Murder in Hungry Horse Shooting

By Beacon Staff

The woman accused of shooting and killing her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day in Hungry Horse was charged with murder Tuesday.

Pamela Ruth Haines, 55, appeared before Justice of the Peace Daniel Wilson in Flathead County Justice Court on Feb. 18 to be formally charged with deliberate homicide in the death of Thomas Eugene Edwards, 71.

Several members of Edwards’ family were also at the hearing.

According to charging documents, on Feb. 14, 911 dispatchers received a call from a woman claiming she had shot her boyfriend. Deputies responded to the First Avenue NW residence in Hungry Horse and found Edwards on the ground with a single bullet wound to the chest.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Deputies took Haines to the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, where she allegedly admitted shooting Edwards one time with a small-caliber pistol.

During the Feb. 18 hearing, Haines’ attorney, Courtney Nolan, asked Wilson to reduce the $500,000 bail to something more manageable for Haines, who lives on Social Security payments.

“She would be willing to do house arrest,” Nolan said. “She has no prior felonies.”

Nolan asked for either a lower bail amount or for Haines to be released on formal house arrest, which the prosecution, represented by Deputy County Attorney Alison Howard, protested.

Howard noted that along with the seriousness of the murder charge, Haines’ lack of family in the area, her alleged confession to the shooting, and the fact that she’s been in the Flathead for less than six months would amount to her being a flight risk.

Wilson said that while the ability to pay bail is one consideration to take into account when setting a bail amount, other factors, such as Haines’ short time in the Flathead and her potential danger to the community given the nature of the charge against her, override the disparity between her income and the bail.

Wilson denied the attempt to lower bail, and kept it at $500,000.

Haines’ next hearing is scheduled for March 13.

If convicted of deliberate homicide, Haines faces a prison term of at least 10 years and up to a life sentence. Since a weapon was involved, Haines could also face an additional two to 10 years in prison.

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