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East Helena homicide suspect makes initial appearance in court
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East Helena homicide suspect makes initial appearance in court

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Corey Kelly

Kelly

Homicide suspect Corey Michael Kelly, 31, of Helena, made his first appearance in court on Monday before Judge Michael Swingley in the Lewis and Clark County Justice of the Peace courtroom.

Kelly is charged with a single count of deliberate homicide in the shooting death of 37-year-old Mark Anthony Luther early Friday morning at a residence near East Helena. Kelly appeared via video call from the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center.

Court documents released Monday provide further details on what investigators believe happened early Friday morning. Two witnesses, who were not suspects and cooperated with police, were present during the shooting and following the death of Luther. These witnesses told investigators that during a gathering, Luther suffered an injury near his eye and requested that other people "cauterize the injury." The injury was subsequently cauterized with a "sythe," which was recorded as a video on Luther's phone.

According to the witnesses, Kelly and Luther got into an argument. They told authorities that Luther "threw a pistol down the hallway, displayed several firearms and told Kelly to pick one." Kelly then allegedly picked up one of Luther's firearms, an M4 carbine style rifle that fired 9mm ammunition, as described by the witnesses. Luther told Kelly and the witnesses several times that the firearms were loaded. 

Luther then turned toward Kelly and raised his hands. Kelly then allegedly shot Luther in the chest, according to investigators.

Court documents state that Kelly then fled the scene and hit two other vehicles with his vehicle. Kelly's vehicle has been seized and the damage to it is consistent with it being involved in these crashes, authorities say.

A warrant was issued for Kelly's arrest. He was found on Saturday around 9:50 p.m. on the 600 block of South California Street. He was arrested on suspicion of deliberate homicide without incident, according to Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton.

Luther died as a result of the gunshot wound. Deputies attempted to administer CPR until medical units arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Swingley set Kelly's bond at $250,000 and ordered that he not possess any firearms or weapons, not leave Lewis and Clark County without court permission, not consume any drugs or alcohol and not enter any bars or casinos for means other than employment.

A preliminary hearing for Kelly is set for Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. and an arraignment hearing is set for Dec. 18 at 8:30 a.m. Kelly requested a public defender at his appearance before Swingley.

All charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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