Man Charged in Evergreen Homicide Pleads Not Guilty

Tanner Doyle White faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in prison or the death penalty for the fatal shooting last month

By Maggie Dresser
Tanner Doyle White appears in Flathead County District Court in Kalispell on Feb. 10, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A 21-year-old Columbia Falls man accused of fatally shooting another man on Flathead Drive in Evergreen last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to one felony count of deliberate homicide.

Tanner Doyle White entered the plea during a Feb. 10 arraignment hearing in Flathead County District Court before Judge Robert B. Allison.

According to charging documents, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched on Jan. 17 to 125 Flathead Drive for a report of gunshots fired where they found the victim, who authorities later identified as 42-year-old Luke Simpson of Columbia Falls, dead on arrival. White was not at the scene but authorities spoke with a neighbor who heard eight to nine gunshots that “sounded like fireworks.” The neighbor also reported hearing a male’s voice and observed two vehicles in the area.

Flathead County law enforcement arrested White at a traffic stop almost a week later on Jan. 23 in Columbia Falls after an investigation linked him and his vehicle to the crime, according to law enforcement. Officers found a firearm inside the vehicle and placed White in custody at the Flathead County Detention Center, where he remains on $500,000 bail, according to Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino.

On Jan. 24, records state, White admitted to detectives that on Jan. 17 he followed Simpson to the scene of the murder on Flathead Drive and shot him with a handgun before leaving in a vehicle with his fiancé. White stated that his fiancé was on a date with Simpson earlier that day, which officials say may have motivated the killing.

Heino said narcotics were related to the incident and other individuals were likely involved in the shooting.

According to court documents, White was previously charged with felony assault on a peace officer causing bodily injury when he allegedly head-butted a sheriff’s deputy in 2019 during a warrant arrest.

White is expected to go to trial on July 18, 2022. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 100 years in the Montana State Prison or the death penalty.

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