A Columbia Falls man who allegedly fatally shot a 41-year-old man in the back in March pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a felony count of deliberate homicide.
Zackary Matthew Maas, 25, entered the plea during an arraignment hearing in Flathead County District Court before Judge Dan Wilson.
The defendant was originally charged with a felony count of assault with a weapon, but the charge was amended to deliberate homicide after the victim succumbed to injuries and died on April 14.
Maas was booked in Flathead County Detention Center on April 14 and his bail is set at $300,000.
According to charging documents, an autopsy report from a medical examiner in Seattle revealed the manner of the victim’s death was a homicide “due to complications of (a) subacute gunshot wound to the back.”
On March 13 at 4:30 a.m., law enforcement arrived at a Kalispell residence on First Avenue West following a report of a shooting. Kalispell police officers found a man lying face down at the top of a stairwell with a bullet wound in his back, records state.
At the time of the incident, the victim explained that Maas and another person entered his home and confronted him prior to the shooting. Upon entering the home, Maas immediately pointed a gun at the victim’s head while his accomplice held him in a chokehold while Maas punched him.
After the victim was released from the chokehold, he opened the door for them to leave and Maas shot him in the back and fled the scene, according to court documents.
The victim was transported to Logan Health for medical treatment and was later transported to a medical center in Seattle.
On March 14, officers arrested Maas during a traffic stop in south Kalispell where he admitted to the shooting, charging records state.
After the initial charge, Maas was released from Flathead County Detention Center on March 18 after posting a $100,000 bond.
The defendant remains in jail following the victim’s death and the amended charge. The court denied a bail modification requested by the defendant.
Maas faces a maximum sentence of life in the Montana State Prison. He is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 19, 2022.
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