Trial Underway in East Glacier Stabbing Death

William Arocha Jr. is charged with second-degree murder for stabbing 35-year-old Shane LaPlan

By Tristan Scott

GREAT FALLS — A federal trial is underway in Great Falls in a fatal stabbing in East Glacier last summer.

William Arocha Jr. is charged with second-degree murder for stabbing 35-year-old Shane LaPlant more than two dozen times early on July 5, 2017.

Investigators say LaPlant arrived uninvited at Arocha’s father’s wedding party at about 3 a.m., and was soon in a fight with Arocha, his brother and his father. Prosecutors say Arocha Jr. stabbed LaPlant in the side.

Prosecutor said Monday that LaPlant left and Arocha followed him into a field where he repeatedly stabbed him.

Public defender Hank Branom said Arocha acted in self-defense because LaPlant was acting aggressively while under the influence of methamphetamine.

The trial could last three to five days.

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