A 19-year-old man charged with beating a homeless man to death outside a Kalispell gas station in June pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony count of deliberate homicide.
Kaleb Elijah Fleck entered the plea during a July 6 arraignment hearing in Flathead County District Court before Judge Heidi Ulbricht.
Fleck on July 5 posted a $500,000 property bond and was released from the Flathead County Detention Center, where he had been in custody since his arrest on June 25.
According to the defendant’s conditions of release, Fleck is required to wear a GPS monitor, he cannot possess firearms or weapons, possess or consume alcohol or drugs and must reside at a specified residence.
According to charging documents, Kalispell Police Department officers during the early morning hours of June 25 responded to a report of an assault at the Conoco gas station at the intersection of Meridian Road and Appleway Drive, where they found a man lying face down on the ground behind the building.
Law enforcement later identified the victim as Scott Bryan, a 60-year-old homeless man, who was bleeding profusely with significant facial and head injuries. Officers observed lacerations, exposed bone and an apparent crushed naval cavity, according to court documents.
A witness at the scene showed officers an 8-second video of the incident, which allegedly showed Fleck and 18-year-old Wiley Meeker, of Somers. The camera pans between Fleck and Bryan’s motionless body on the ground, and Meeker can be heard saying, “You (expletive) that guy up dude,” with Fleck responding, “Step up. Step up (expletive).”
Meeker was also arrested on a pending deliberate homicide charge at the time of the incident but was released from the Flathead County Detention Center two days later. He has not been charged with any felonies as of July 6.
Following the alleged assault, law enforcement located Meeker and Fleck at separate locations and interviewed them individually, records state. Both admitted they were at the gas station in Meeker’s truck, and both said an individual approached the vehicle. Fleck admitted to exiting the vehicle and assaulting Bryan. Meeker told law enforcement that he pulled Fleck away from Bryan before leaving the scene, records state.
After obtaining a warrant, officers searched the residence where Fleck was located after the incident and found a pair of boots with suspected blood stains in the garage, according to the affidavit.
A group of Fleck’s friends and family appeared in court to support the defendant.
Fleck, who is represented by defense attorney Sean Hinchey, is scheduled to stand trial in November 2023. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 100 years in the Montana State Prison or the death penalty.
Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner is prosecuting the case.
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