Trial Starts in 2018 Drug-Related Double Killing in Missoula

Preston Rossbach, 19, is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide by accountability

By Associated Press

MISSOULA — A trial is underway in the case of a drug-fueled October 2018 double homicide at a Missoula motel.

Missoula County prosecutor Jordan Kilby alleges Preston Rossbach, 19, accompanied another man to the motel while they searched for someone who had provided them with “bad drugs.” They didn’t find the dealer, a witness said.

Prosecutors said co-defendant Jonathan Whitworth shot three people in the room and that Rossbach stabbed two of them to make sure they were dead.

Whitworth, 27, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of deliberate homicide and faces trial in April.

Rossbach is charged with two counts of deliberate homicide by accountability in the deaths of Megan McLaughlin, 31, and Jason Flink, 23. Both were shot in the head. Kaleb Williams, who was sleeping when the shooting began, survived.

Williams does not remember much of what happened except for waking up and seeing Rossbach standing in front of him, Kilby said during the trial’s opening statements on Tuesday.

Video from the motel shows Rossbach leaving the room with a knife, she said.

Public defender Greg Rapkoch told the jury that people testifying against Rossbach are jailhouse informants looking for deals in their own cases, the Missoulian reported.

Labenza Charlo, who said she accompanied Rossbach and Whitworth to the motel, received immunity for her testimony. She said she did not see Rossbach with a weapon in the motel room, but that she had retreated to a closet.

“I heard gunshots and I heard Megan and them scream,” Charlo said.

After a break Wednesday, the trial will continue on Thursday.

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