Man Convicted of Killing 2 in MSU Shooting Denied Parole

Brett Byers shot and killed two students in 1990 on campus

By Molly Priddy

BOZEMAN — Two members of the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole have denied parole to a man who shot and killed two Montana State University students in 1990.

Brett Byers appeared Wednesday before board members Darryl Dupuis and Mary Kay Puckett at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge.

Byers was convicted in 1991 of deliberate homicide in the deaths of Brian Boeder and James Clevenger and was sentenced to 165 years in prison. All three were 19 at the time.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports both Dupuis and Puckett told Byers, who is now 44, he has not served enough time.

Puckett did tell Byers he was on the right track with the programs he has completed and his good behavior as an inmate.

Byers can be evaluated for parole again in five years.

Gallatin County District Court Judge Mike Salvagni, who was county attorney in 1990 and prosecuted the case, wrote to the parole board asking they keep Byers in prison.

“It would make a mockery of our criminal justice system for a person who brutally murdered two innocent young men in the prime of their lives to be released into the community after serving only 25 years in prison,” Salvagni wrote.

Byers’ family said at his 2007 parole hearing that he has changed and asked for his release. They said he had taken anger management and drug- and alcohol-abuse counseling, and that he’d been involved in Christian ministry as well as carpentry and cabinetry school.

While the shooting is 25 years old, it remains fresh in many people’s minds. The Montana Legislature brought up Byers’ case this session as lawmakers weighed whether to pass a bill allowing firearms on Montana’s campuses.

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