Kalispell Attorney Enters Plea Deal in Libby Campground Murder

Garry Douglas Seaman last week pleaded guilty to felony charges of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide for a May 2022 shooting that left one dead and another seriously injured

By Maggie Dresser
Seaman Law Firm in Kalispell, pictured Aug. 27 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The 64-year-old longtime Kalispell attorney charged in the May 2022 shooting that seriously injured his ex-partner and killed her 52-year-old male companion at a Libby-area campground has admitted to the allegations, pleading guilty last week to felony charges of deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide as part of a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Garry Douglas Seaman was charged last year in Lincoln County District Court, an offense to which he pleaded not guilty to in June 2022; however, he changed his plea at a hearing last week before Missoula District Judge Jason Marks. In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors with the Lincoln County Attorney’s Office will recommend a sentence of 60 years in the Montana State Prison with no time suspended.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.

According to the plea agreement, Lincoln County Attorney Marcia Boris and Deputy Lincoln County Attorney Jeffrey Zwang, along with Seaman’s defense team, agreed to the 60-year sentence on several conditions. Under the plea deal, each count would run concurrently and Seaman would not be eligible for parole until he’d served a minimum of 18 years. He would receive credit for all time served prior to sentencing, would be prohibited from owning or carrying a dangerous weapon and he would be required to register as a violent offender. Seaman must also pay restitution to the victims, which will be determined at the sentencing hearing in October.

According to court documents, Seaman followed the two victims to a Libby-area campground last year in a jealous rampage, shooting them both multiple times. He was also charged with a felony count of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, which was dismissed as part of the plea bargain.

When Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies and the Libby Volunteer Ambulance crew arrived at the Alexander Creek Campground near the Libby Dam at 2:47 p.m. on May 21, 2022. authorities found James Preston Freeman, who died from gunshot wounds to his torso, and the injured woman, who also had multiple gunshot wounds.

First responders rendered medical aid to the injured woman and transported her to a nearby rendezvous site, where a helicopter transported her to a hospital.

At the scene, the still-conscious victim identified the suspect as Seaman, who had fled the scene, along with his vehicle. Lincoln County investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Seaman and brought him into custody the following day, records state.

Authorities booked Seaman in the Lincoln County Detention Center on May 24 following a transfer from the Flathead County Detention Center, where he was booked the day after the shooting.

On April 25, 2022, the female victim, who shares a minor child with Seaman and had worked for him since 1994, was denied a temporary order of protection in Flathead County Justice Court. According to documents, she had recently ended a 15-year relationship with Seaman, writing that he was heavily armed, stalking her, tracking her cell phone, and that she did “not feel safe anywhere near him.” Flathead County Justice of the Peace Paul Sullivan issued the denial notice and stated that “the information submitted does not support the conclusion that you are in danger and that the circumstances require the court to act without notice to the other party.”

According to the woman’s statement in the petition, she described harassment following her decision to break off their relationship, resulting in a request for civil-standby assistance from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

Less than a month later, Seaman was arrested on deliberate homicide and attempted deliberate homicide charges for allegedly gunning down the woman and Freeman.

Last summer, Judge Marks denied a motion from the defendant’s Missoula-based lawyers to reduce his $25 million bail.

Attorneys Nick Brooke and John Smith wrote in their brief in support of the motion that the $25 million bail “may be the highest ever imposed in Montana, and more than double the highest amount ever imposed in either the Fourth or Nineteenth judicial districts. The only purpose for such a number would be to make it impossible for the Defendant to post bail.”

Seaman remains in custody in the Lincoln County Detention Center.

If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic violence, the Abbie Shelter operates a 24-hour crisis helpline at (406) 752-7273. Additional information can be found at www.abbieshelter.org.

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