Arraignment Scheduled for Man Accused in 2022 Fatal Columbia Falls Stabbing

A Flathead County judge ordered Zain Alexander Ray Glass to be transferred back to the Flathead County Detention Center from the Montana State Hospital and to receive a second opinion to determine if he is fit to continue court proceedings

By Maggie Dresser
Zain Glass appears in Flathead County District Court in Kalispell before Judge Robert Allison via a video call on July 19, 2023. Glass is charged with a felony count of deliberate homicide after a fatal stabbing in Columbia Falls on Sept. 20, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A Flathead County District Court judge has ordered that a 24-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his sister’s boyfriend a year ago to receive a second fitness evaluation and to be transported back to the Flathead County Detention Center from the Montana State Hospital, where he has been since November.

If a second evaluation indicates that the defendant is fit to proceed, Zain Alexander Ray Glass will enter a plea to a felony count of deliberate homicide at an arraignment hearing scheduled for Sept. 21 at 9 a.m. before Judge Robert B. Allison.

Glass was deemed unfit to enter a plea following his arrest in the Sept. 20 stabbing last year.

Judge Allison on Sept. 7 ordered that the defendant be transferred to Flathead County for a second opinion regarding his fitness to proceed on or before Sept. 14.

A forensic fitness evaluation report was completed by Dr. James Murphy, a Bozeman-based psychologist, and Dr. Daniel Bemporad, a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a psychiatry specialist at the Montana State Hospital. The report was filed under seal to protect the defendant’s privacy.

In July, Glass’s public defenders, Dianne Rice and Nick Aemisseger, filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing the defendant was “unable to understand the proceedings against him or assist in his own defense and therefore cannot be tried, convicted or sentenced.”

Judge Allison did not rule on the motion at the July 19 hearing because a fitness evaluation had not been presented.

Rice said in her motion that ongoing delays at the state hospital and the county attorney’s office, including missed deadlines and a failure to request hearings, made the case dismissible.

Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner argued at the July hearing that Glass was “likely to achieve fitness in the foreseeable future,” following discussions with employees at the state hospital.

Judge Allison ordered Glass to be transferred to the state hospital last November, where the defendant has been ever since. On March 3, an involuntary treatment plan was ordered to be administered after the defendant refused to comply with a voluntary treatment plan that included antipsychotic medication.

According to charging documents, Glass was arrested on Sept. 21 last year after his sister reported that he stabbed her boyfriend, Lukas Davis, following a verbal argument in her bedroom. When Davis exited the room, Glass was standing in the hallway and stabbed him.

Glass’s sister then locked him out of the house and called law enforcement and a Columbia Falls Police Department officer arrived to find Glass standing in the yard with a knife in his hand. After he was ordered to drop the knife, he was handcuffed. He later told detectives during an interview that the stabbing “was an accident,” records state.

Authorities found Davis with a knife wound to his abdomen, records state. He was transported to Logan Health, where he was pronounced dead.

Glass faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in the Montana State Prison.