Plea Deal Reached in Evergreen Murder Case

Brandon Newberry is expected enter plea this week in court

By Justin Franz

The Evergreen man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son last February is expected to enter a plea of Alford this week in Flathead County District Court.

Brandon Walter Lee Newberry, 22, is scheduled to enter the plea to an amended charge of mitigated homicide at a hearing on Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. An Alford plea occurs when a defendant doesn’t admit guilt, but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to find them guilty in a trial.

A notice of a change of plea hearing was filed in court records on Feb. 4 and the plea agreement was filed on Feb. 8. According to the agreement, prosecutors will recommend a 40-year sentence to the Montana State Prison with no parole restrictions. The defendant may argue for a lesser sentence. And even if the defense and prosecution agree on a plea deal, the judge is not bound by it and does not have to follow its recommendations.

Newberry initially pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide in February 2015. He was expected to go to trial next month.

According to court documents, Newberry allegedly beat Forrest Groshelle in February 2015. Groshelle later died from a laceration of the small intestine that slowly poisoned the boy, according to his autopsy. During an interview with law enforcement, Newberry admitted to “roughhousing” with the child in the days before he died.

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