Coroner’s Inquest In Fatal Police Shooting Set For March 9 [YouTube]
There were two officer-involved shootings that occurred within 24 hours of each other on New Year's Eve, but only one was fatal.
Deputy Missoula County Attorney Jason Marks announced on Monday that a coroner's inquest would be held on March 9 into the fatal shooting of Kalieb Williams by Corporal Paul Kelly of the Missoula Police Department.
"In the case of an in-custody death, in this instance the fatal shooting that Officer Paul Kelly was involved in, we will conduct a coroner's inquest which involves putting all the evidence in a case before a coroner's jury for them to determine if the death was the result of a criminal act or not ," Marks said. "The jury will hear from the investigator from the sheriff's department, hear testimony from eyewitnesses, see video evidence, and that sort of thing."
Should the coroner's jury find that a crime was indeed committed by Corporal Kelly, Marks said the final decision on charges would come from his office.
"Ultimately, it goes to my office for a charging decision," he said. "Certainly the verdict of a coroner's jury is something we take very seriously in making that decision."
One of the distinctions in a coroner's inquest is that members of the jury are allowed to ask questions of witnesses.
Marks said with all the witnesses and testimony, he expects the inquest to be wrapped up in one to two days.
Officer Kelly shot Williams once in the head with his service revolver inside a vehicle, when Williams refused repeated commands to stop strangling his hostage.
Kelly has been on administrative leave with pay since the shooting incident.