Just moments before a Kalispell man was set to go on trial this week for allegedly soliciting his cellmate to kill his ex-wife, prosecutors dropped the charges and dismissed the case.
Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan said in the days before the case was scheduled to go to trial on July 14 he did not believe prosecutors had enough evidence to convict Matthew William Heuer.
“There were a number of problems with the case and as we were preparing for it we came to the conclusion that we didn’t have enough evidence for a conviction,” Corrigan said. “We are ethically bound not to proceed with a case if we don’t have enough to convict.”
In February, Heuer, 38, was convicted of felony criminal endangerment for firing a gun at his neighbors and was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Department of Corrections. According to court documents, while Heuer was in jail he allegedly asked his cellmate, Noah Powell, to kill his ex-wife, Tarsha Heuer, and Flathead County Victim Advocate Janiece Hamilton, in exchange for a Toyota pickup truck and money. According to an order of protection filed by Tarsha, the two men discussed using meth in a needle to kill the two women.
After Heuer had asked him to kill his wife, Powell told police, who in turn had him wear a wire on two different occasions, to try and record Heuer’s alleged murder-for-hire request. According to Corrigan, the recordings are where the case failed.
Corrigan said the quality of the first recording was so bad that even after the Federal Bureau of Investigation enhanced it, prosecutors couldn’t decipher it enough to get a clear transcript of what was said. When Powell recorded Heuer a second time he didn’t explicitly say he wanted his ex-wife murdered.
The county attorney also said that the two officers who overheard the conversations also couldn’t remember if Heuer actually said he wanted his ex-wife murdered.
“All we had were the informant statements,” Corrigan said. “Because we didn’t have the recording and the officers couldn’t recall everything Heuer said there was nothing stopping him from standing up during his trial and saying ‘I did not say those things’ and we’d have no way to prove otherwise.”
Later the judge also ruled that the prosecutor, Deputy County Attorney Kenneth Park, could not introduce evidence from past conflicts Heuer had with his wife, with whom he has two children, ages 8 and 11.
“The case just fell apart,” Corrigan said.
After the case against Heuer was dropped, his ex-wife filed for a restraining order that was granted soon after. In it, Tarsha Heuer wrote, “He is being released and he will kill me.”
Heuer is currently serving his sentence with the Department of Corrections and is being transferred to the Missoula area for an assessment.
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