Man Charged in Fatal Whitefish Shooting Pleads Not Guilty

Steven Justin Hedrick entered the plea in Flathead County District Court on Feb. 9

By Maggie Dresser
Steven Justin Hedrick appears in Flathead County District Court in Kalispell on Feb. 9, 2023. Hedrick is charged with deliberate homicide. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A 32-year-old man charged with killing his neighbor during an altercation over noise levels at a Whitefish apartment complex during the early morning hours on Jan. 24 pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony count of deliberate homicide.

Steven Justin Hedrick, who entered the courtroom using a walker, entered the plea during a Feb. 9 arraignment hearing in Flathead County District Court before Judge Amy Eddy.

According to an affidavit filed by Deputy Flathead County Attorney Andrew Clegg, Whitefish Police Department officers responded to the shooting at 1:27 a.m. on Jan. 24. Upon arrival, they found several people standing outside the apartment complex, including a “distraught female” and Hedrick, who was on crutches and identified himself as the shooting suspect when asked by officers.

Law enforcement located the deceased victim, who had an apparent gunshot wound to the head, on the first-floor hallway of an apartment complex at 6400 Highway 93 South.

Prior to the shooting, the victim, who lived on the second floor, was “loudly” knocking on the door of his ex-girlfriend’s room, who lived two doors down from Hedrick, and was yelling for her. During the investigation, she told officers that they had broken up and the victim moved out of their shared room the day before, according to charging documents.

When the loud knocking continued, Hedrick confronted the victim and another neighbor threatened to call the cops, prompting the noise to stop.

The suspect told police he went outside following the confrontation to smoke a cigarette and returned to his room. Shortly after, records state he heard “normal” knocking again on his neighbor’s door and Hedrick retrieved a silver revolver and placed it on a counter beside the door.

Hedrick said he opened the door and began communicating with the victim again when the confrontation escalated, according to court records. The victim began yelling and “posturing” toward Hedrick, who raised the revolver, pulled the hammer back and aimed it at the victim’s head. This prompted the victim to approach Hedrick and, according to court records, place his hand on the barrel of the gun while it was aimed at his face. The man was then shot through the mouth, records state.

According to court records, Hedrick told officers he “just had (the gun) there for a show of strength.”

Hedrick is scheduled to go to trial in on April 10. He remains jailed on a $750,000 bond.