Missoula prosecutors on Friday fortified their case against an 18-year-old charged in a double homicide, with new information from the suspect's cellmate.
Preston Rossbach is one of two people charged in the October killings of 23-year-old Jason Flink and 31-year-old Megan McLaughlin at the Mountain Valley Inn. He faced two counts of deliberate homicide, two counts of intimidation and assault with a weapon for allegedly stabbing a third man, who survived, in the hotel room.
On Friday, Missoula County prosecutors added two charges of tampering with physical evidence to Rossbach's case after investigators found the clothes he allegedly wore than night hidden in a well of stacked tires on the property where he was arrested nine months ago.
The new charging documents also include information that Rossbach's cellmate in the Missoula County Detention Center disclosed to detectives last week.
Prosecutors have alleged since early in the case that the killings were motivated by drugs. Rossbach and Jonathan Whitworth, 28, sought the source of the fake methamphetamine they had purchased days earlier, prosecutors allege. Their dealer, LaBenza Charlo, brought them to the Mountain Valley Inn around 1 a.m. on October 19; Charlo believed the person she got the "meth" from would be there, according to the court documents.
When they did not find Charlo's dealer, Whitworth shot the three people who were in the room, killing Flink and McLaughlin, according to charging documents. The third person in the room, Kaleb Williams, survived.
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According to charging documents filed Friday, Rossbach described the incident to his cellmate about five different times in recent weeks. Rossbach said that after Whitworth shot the three people in the hotel room, he started going through their pockets as Whitworth and Charlo ran back to their vehicle outside the motel, according to the documents. Rossbach, armed with a knife, stabbed Flink and then Williams as Williams began to struggle with him, according to the cellmate. Rossbach had been worried about leaving any witnesses, he said.
Flink's autopsy revealed he had been shot three times, and he had lacerations on the right side of his face, neck, chin and right hand, according to court documents. McLaughlin was shot four times, while Williams had one gunshot wound and other wounds "consistent with stab wounds."
Whitworth threw the gun somewhere in the river near Lolo, the cellmate told investigators, while Rossbach "took the knife and stuck it in the ground and stomped on it."
Prosecutors wrote in Friday's court filings that the cellmate understood the state had not offered him a deal and did not have to offer him a deal for the information he provided detectives. Detention center records show he was released from jail the same day he spoke with detectives.
Charlo, who brought Whitworth and Rossbach to the hotel that night, was later booked on drug charges for her alleged involvement in the shootings, but last month a $20,000 warrant was issued for her arrest when she did not show up for a court hearing. She has not yet appeared on that warrant.
Rossbach's trial is set for Aug. 5. The next court hearing for Whitworth, whose case has sat idle since he got a new defense attorney in February, is in November.