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The 22-year-old man accused of killing a woman by hitting her with a frying pan has also been named as a suspect in an active Yellowstone County homicide investigation.

James Isiah Brien, 22, pleaded not guilty in the new case to deliberate homicide and two counts of assault with a weapon in Big Horn County District Court on Tuesday.

Brien in court

James Isiah Brien appears in District Court in Hardin Tuesday morning.

Brien is also named in charging documents from a murder in Billings in 2015 in which a man, Jeffrey Hewitt, was beaten, left in a room to die and later dismembered.

Brien and three others named in court documents have not been charged in the case, but prosecutors say additional charges are expected.

No trial date has been set in the alleged frying pan killing from this year. Brien’s bond has been set at $1 million.

Defense attorneys sought to lower Brien's bond on Tuesday, but prosecutors cited the Yellowstone County investigation as reason to maintain the $1 million bond.


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