Michelle Gable quietly walked into Justice of the Peace Michael Swingley’s court in Helena Friday afternoon, one day after she allegedly shot and killed her husband and another woman.
Gable, 48, is a small woman with dark brown hair and was clad in the standard orange jailhouse jumpsuit. She answered “Yes, your honor,” when asked if she understood that she was being charged with two counts of deliberate homicide, and that she faces up to a $50,000 fine, a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.
The calm courtroom scene was a far cry from Thursday’s shooting of Joseph Gable, 48, and Sunday Cooley Bennett of Texas. The shooting occurred three weeks after Gable had sought and was denied a temporary restraining order against his wife; he cited intimidation, kidnapping and stalking as the reasons for the request.
He had filed for divorce on Tuesday.
According to police documents, a call came into the 911 dispatch center at 6:04 a.m. from Bennett saying there was a woman with a gun in a home at 330 Cutler St. The dispatcher heard a man screaming and Bennett advised, “This (the woman with the gun) is the man’s wife and she shot him.”
According to the documents, Bennett then advised that the wife was now trying to shoot her.
The dispatcher then heard Bennett saying, “Don’t you shoot me, b----. Don’t you dare. Don’t,” and then the caller appeared to have been shot.
The dispatcher could hear her saying, “Don’t you know what you are doing?” but she never came back to the phone, and the call was disconnected within a minute of being placed
An officer arrived at the scene by 6:06 a.m., and heard shots fired, with more rounds going off three minutes later.
The dispatcher received another call from the home at 6:13 a.m. This time it was quiet, but she reportedly heard a female saying, “I loved you with all my heart. It’s because of that b----. You traded me for her, Joe. I loved you.”
Meanwhile, officers had gathered around the home, and heard someone groaning near the doorway. They saw Joseph Gable lying on the ground, half in and half out of the home’s doorway. Michelle Gable also was in the doorway.
“Officers heard the male state, ‘My wife shot me.’ To protect him, officers dragged him from the premises because he was unable to move,” Helena Police Lt. Corey Livesay wrote in an affidavit. “… He said that Michelle was his wife.”
Joseph Gable also said that “Sunday has been shot” and when officers went into the building, they found her dead with a gunshot wound to her chest, lying near a staircase. They also observed two handguns and spent brass cartridges on the ground.
Joseph Gable was confirmed dead at St. Peter’s Hospital at 6:59 a.m. Bennett’s death was confirmed seven minutes later.
Michelle Gable was transported to the hospital at 6:36 a.m. and treated for a gunshot wound to her arm.
She remains in the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center pending a $250,000 bond. It initially was set by the county attorney at $200,000, but Swingley increased it based on the nature of the incident.
Michelle Gable is being represented by Jon Moog, a public defender.
Reporter Eve Byron: 447-4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org