Coram Man Denies Killing Man Over Meth Dispute

Martin Chandler appeared in court on March 14

By Justin Franz
Martin Chandler is led into Flathead County District Court on March 14, 2019. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

A 19-year-old man pleaded not guilty to a single count of deliberate homicide in Flathead County District Court on March 14.

Martin Chandler is accused of shooting and killing 54-year-old William Melton in Coram on Feb. 14 after allegedly getting into an argument over methamphetamine.

Chandler, who remains incarcerated at the Flathead County Detention Center on $250,000 bond, is set to stand trial in September. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

During the brief hearing on Thursday morning, Chandler let his attorneys, Liam Gallagher and Greg Rapkoch, do most of the talking. Chandler appeared in a jail-issued orange jumpsuit and acknowledged some people in the gallery who came to see the arraignment.

According to charging documents, Chandler had entered a home in Coram early on the morning of Feb. 14 and began arguing with Melton about meth. Chandler is accused of pointing a gun at Melton and shooting him in the chest before fleeing the scene. Chandler was apprehended soon after in Columbia Falls.

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