Kila Man Accused in Fatal Martin City Shooting Pleads Not Guilty to New Charges

Del Orrin Crawford, 42, entered the pleas in Flathead County District Court after new charges were filed last month

By Maggie Dresser
Del Orrin Crawford appears in Flathead County District Court in Kalispell on June 4, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A 42-year-old Kila man who pleaded not guilty in 2022 to three felony charges following an early morning shooting that killed a Hungry Horse woman and seriously injured her husband outside of a Martin City bar entered two additional not guilty pleas after new assault charges were filed.

Del Orrin Crawford at a June 4 arraignment and pre-trial hearing pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a weapon for allegedly threatening two additional women who were at the scene.

In September 2022, Crawford pleaded not guilty to felony charges of deliberate homicide, attempted deliberate homicide and evidence tampering after prosecutors alleged that he shot Hungry Horse residents Whisper Sellars, 28, and Doug Crosswhite, who was 33 at the time, outside the Southfork Saloon during an altercation over a golf cart in August of 2022.

Crawford entered the pleas to the latest charges in Flathead County District Court before Judge Dan Wilson. He is scheduled to stand trial on July 22.

Montana Department of Justice Assistant Attorneys General Thorin Geist and Selene Koepke, who are serving as special deputy county attorneys in the case, appeared at the hearing in-person.

The state attorneys took over Crawford’s case this year after Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner requested help due to a high volume of caseloads at his office.

Two of Crawford’s four Missoula-based defense attorneys, Tyson McLean and Peter Lacny, also attended the hearing.

Crawford was released from custody in October 2022 after posting a $750,000 bond following Judge Wilson’s denial of a bond reduction motion for the defendant.

According to the affidavit in support of amended information filed on May 28 of this year by Geist and Koepke, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 27, 2022 responded to multiple reports of a shooting at the Southfork Saloon in Martin City at 1 a.m. where two victims were shot before the suspect fled the scene.

When deputies arrived, they found Doug Crosswhite on the road in front of the bar with a tourniquet around his arm and a seal on his chest wound. Bystanders were administering CPR on Sellars, who had been shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told law enforcement the incident began when Sellars and Alicia Crosswhite were sitting in a golf cart outside the bar taking pictures when they were confronted by Crawford. An altercation began and Crawford reportedly pushed Sellars and bystander Kristen Lundstrom before Doug Crosswhite approached and pushed Crawford, who fell backwards, got up, pulled a handgun from his waistline and began shooting, records state.

Crawford fled the scene and told deputies over the phone that he was up the road, he shot in self-defense and he still possessed the firearm.

Authorities located Crawford on South Fork Road and arrested him. He refused to tell law enforcement the location of the firearm, but stated it was in a safe place where officers would not find it.

Two days after the incident, detectives interviewed Alicia Crosswhite, who added that after Crawford shot Doug and Sellars, he pointed the gun at her and said, “Do you want some too, b***h?,” according to documents.

Alicia said she believed Crawford was going to kill her.

About a month after the shooting, detectives interviewed Lundstrom who said when she confronted Crawford and told him to leave everyone alone, Crawford stood up and shoved her into the golf cart and placed the gun to her head. Lundstrom dropped to the ground and started screaming that she had children before Crawford shot Sellars and Doug.