Kalispell man won't be charged for fatally shooting lover's husband

2012-10-10T05:45:00Z 2014-04-27T17:03:53Z Kalispell man won't be charged for fatally shooting lover's husbandBy TRISTAN SCOTT of the Missoulian missoulian.com
October 10, 2012 5:45 am  • 

KALISPELL – A 24-year-old Kalispell man who fatally shot the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair will not be charged with a crime, the Flathead County attorney announced Tuesday.

Brice Harper shot and killed 40-year-old Dan Fredenberg on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 22, shooting the man three times with a pistol during a confrontation in the garage of Harper’s Kalispell home. He shot Fredenberg as the man angrily approached him, “charging at him, like he was on a mission,” Harper told Kalispell police.

Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan cited several of Montana’s “castle doctrine” and “stand-your-ground” statutes to support his decision not to prosecute Harper.

“I am acutely aware that the Fredenberg family and others believe this matter should be presented to a jury and strongly disagree with the position I am taking,” Corrigan wrote in a letter to Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset and other investigators. “I am, however, ethically precluded from charging an individual with an offense, particularly Deliberate Homicide, when I do not believe the evidence and the law will support a conviction. For these reasons, I am declining to charge Brice Harper with deliberate homicide or mitigated deliberate homicide.”

The laws Corrigan refers to state that a person threatened with bodily harm is not required to call on assistance from law enforcement or make an attempt to escape, and is allowed to defend an occupied home or structure by using deadly force.

“Even though Brice obviously had the opportunity to retreat into his house, close the door and call the police, he was under no legal obligation to do so,” Corrigan stated. “Brice had the legal right to arm himself and remain in his laundry room doorway, his fear of Dan notwithstanding.”

******

In his brief, Corrigan outlines the events that led to the shooting, which included an earlier confrontation between Harper and Fredenberg, which took place at a bar and reportedly involved the amount of attention Harper was paying to Fredenberg’s wife, Heather.

During interviews with police, the woman said Fredenberg had become abusive toward her, drank too much and that she had attempted to end the relationship. She said Fredenberg had pushed and kicked her a week prior to the shooting, and that he was aware of and angered by the relationship she was having with Harper.

On the day of the shooting, she was at Harper’s home helping him prepare for an out-of-state move, and ignored phone calls and text messages from her husband inquiring as to her whereabouts.

She and Harper took a drive around 8 p.m. and realized that Fredenberg was following them, according to Corrigan’s brief. The woman dropped off Harper at his home and told him to go inside and not answer the door.

Instead, Harper retrieved a gun and stood just inside the door leading from his laundry room into the open garage. As Fredenberg entered the garage, Harper pointed the gun at him and told him to stop. When Fredenberg continued moving toward him, he shot the man in the abdomen.

“(Fredenberg) bent over, stated ‘you shot me,’ and, according to (Harper), continued to move towards him,” Corrigan stated in his brief. “(Harper) then shot him two more times and he collapsed at the foot of the stairs leading into the laundry room, approximately 2 feet from (Harper).”

The second and third shots struck Fredenberg in the left shoulder and grazed the right side of his face.

“Were we to charge (Harper) with homicide and proceed to trial, I am convinced the judge and/or jurors would conclude that (Harper) reasonably believed he was about to be assaulted and that his use of force was therefore justified under Montana law,” Corrigan wrote. “We lack the evidence necessary to prove otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 531-9745 or at tscott@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(28) Comments

  1. Tapdancn
    Report Abuse
    Tapdancn - October 14, 2012 10:32 am
    So if I want to kill someone all I have to do is goad them in to coming to my house? That should be easy enough. I'll tell him that I'm doing his wife. He'll probably come right over...
  2. Doc Holliday
    Report Abuse
    Doc Holliday - October 14, 2012 5:00 am
    It sounds to me that the husband was the root of the problem to begin with. Had he been a descent husband in the first place, maybe the wife wouldn't have been cheating and he would be alive today. I rest my case.
  3. miner
    Report Abuse
    miner - October 12, 2012 3:51 pm
    What facts and statistics have YOU provided? I don't see anything but assumptions.

    If you don't want to get shot, don't enter another person's property without permission.
  4. MTminded
    Report Abuse
    MTminded - October 11, 2012 2:08 pm
    Your opinion is obviously very important to you. Probably not important enough, however, to back your assertion with facts and verifiable statistics.
  5. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 11, 2012 1:50 pm
    The perp unlawfully entered his home, fleabrain - and he had plenty of motive to cause harm. Thank goodness for the Castle Doctrine law that protects those who utilize their right to self-defense. My god, you are dense.
  6. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 11, 2012 7:09 am
    Your moniker certainly doesn't pertain to you - most Montanans support the right of self-defense. This should be a lesson to those who believe that they can unlawfully enter another person's home and threaten the owner. Don't do it, and you will tend to live longer and be healthy.
  7. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 11, 2012 7:04 am
    Murder is not legal in Montana - but this incident is a clear case of self-defense.
  8. old AZ hippie
    Report Abuse
    old AZ hippie - October 10, 2012 8:51 pm
    SELF-DEFENSE? Boyfriend DEFENDING himself? AGGRESSIVE? THREATENING? ATTACK?

    All words used by the commentators, but there is nothing in the article nor in the words of the prosecutors saying any such thing. The husband (now dead guy) was APPROACHING the boyfriend. Wonder how many others involved in a situation like this will use this lesson to get rid of unwanted husbands/wifes, etc.? All I have to say is I hope there are no children involved in this mess. God help them if there are.
  9. MTminded
    Report Abuse
    MTminded - October 10, 2012 5:43 pm
    You gotta love the irony here... Ten Commandment billboards are plastered throughout Flathead County and the Kalispell area. Those billboards now need a giant asterisks at the bottom: it is now perfectly okay to covet thy neighbors wife, heck, you can even shoot thy neighbor if it's convenient.
  10. Tracker
    Report Abuse
    Tracker - October 10, 2012 4:45 pm
    Can you cite a source for that "proven fact?" The Department of Justice, which keeps the numbers on these things, has found that murderers have one of the lowest recidivism rates. Where do you get your information?
  11. TWG2A
    Report Abuse
    TWG2A - October 10, 2012 4:13 pm
    I fully support the Prosecutors decision not to pursue charges against the homeowner. We have the right to defend ourselves against harm from others, especially in our own homes and on our own property. The case is not about the cheating spouse. It's about an abusive and threatening individual who had no right to pursue his wife's lover in his own home, with the obvious intent to harm him. Without question and without hesitation, I would do the same thing if someone came at me intending to harm me. Our Second Amendment rights shall not be infringed, and the leftists whining for more gun control have NO right to make me a victim and to take away my human and civil right to defend myself, my loved ones and my property. American is NOT a "democracy". America is a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, and that means I have inalienable rights that you lefties can't touch. That's the beauty of living in a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC. I have rights you can't touch, no matter how loudly you whine. An armed society is a polite society. If more people owned, trained and carried firearms, we wouldn't be having these kinds of problems and so many VICTIMS here in America. Our founding fathers made it the SECOND Amendment for a very good reason. It protects ALL others. Kudos to the Prosecutor in this case.
  12. Justanameok
    Report Abuse
    Justanameok - October 10, 2012 1:12 pm
    Shouldn't protecting your family (ie relationship with your wife) rate right up there with protecting your property? Well, I guess adultery and murder are legal in MT. Good to know.
  13. snickers
    Report Abuse
    snickers - October 10, 2012 12:57 pm
    Murder! It's a proven fact, if a man gets away with murder, he will kill again. How long do you suppose it will take.
  14. Love's Life
    Report Abuse
    Love's Life - October 10, 2012 12:16 pm
    The "wife" is the one that should be charged. Disgusting. Get a divorce before you bring someone else into the picture. No morrals!
  15. Tracker
    Report Abuse
    Tracker - October 10, 2012 11:41 am
    The case isn't about self-defense. The matter of law is a specific intruder statute passed in Montana. And the case isn't about shooting anyone four times; I don't see where it says that happened.
  16. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 10, 2012 11:20 am
    You're wrong - the husband saw a threat and prepared to defend himself in his own home. Fortunately the County Attorney recognized that fact and rightly decided not to prosecute. That's self-defense, not murder. We will see see fewer and fewer of these incidents, as some violent types learn that their propensity to physically attack people they don't like. And the guy shot the attacker three times - enough to stop the attack.
  17. pushingback
    Report Abuse
    pushingback - October 10, 2012 11:00 am
    It is nice to see a prosecutor with the knuckles to do the right thing and decline the case, even in the face of extreme outside pressures, for a change. The criminal courtroom is not the place to solve every problem, unless the law and the facts support a charge that will result in a legal conviction. In this case they do not and kudos to the Flathead County Attorney for standing up and saying so.
  18. montanablogger
    Report Abuse
    montanablogger - October 10, 2012 9:36 am
    I think the lack of attempt sends entirely the right message: that the prosecutor understand and respects the laws of Montana. It is a tragic situation, but the fact is the husband trespassed on another's property and approached the property owner in a hostile and threatening manner. The husband is responsible for his actions. The property owner had the right to defend himself.
  19. Abonides
    Report Abuse
    Abonides - October 10, 2012 9:10 am
    I guess we'll never know what really happened, since the only other witness is dead. This kind of thing will happen more and more when we justify murder. The guy wasn't practicing self-defense; he shot the other 4 times. He wanted him dead.
  20. Sukey
    Report Abuse
    Sukey - October 10, 2012 8:48 am
    What did the dead guy think he would accomplish by confronting the boyfriend? Shame him into leaving his wife alone, shame the wife, make the wife appreciate him more? All three sound like complete losers. One is dead (good riddance if you can't hold your mate's attention get a divorce don't stage an altercation). Two are alive to cheat on each other again. The prosecutor did the right thing, and I think it takes more guts to NOT prosecute than to shove this mess off on juries and Courts. The Prosecutor doesn't MAKE the laws, he enforces them. If you are uncomfortable with second amendment rights, you're in big trouble. Cops are stretched thin and we citizens can, and will, protect our homes, our businesses and our loved ones. In this case, the boyfriend was protecting his right to schlep married women and not be bothered by hostile husbands in his home.
  21. familytruckster
    Report Abuse
    familytruckster - October 10, 2012 8:41 am
    I don't know if the prosecutor could get a conviction here, but the lack of an attempt sends the wrong message, and the shooter was wrong. Not only are affairs wrong, I don't care how "awful" the situation of the wife, but the scorned husband was murdered by this guy. Self defense- BULLS***. The shooter laid in wait for the angry husband. He could have called the police to report that he was being stalked and threatened by the angry husband. How absolutely Montana- comments included.
  22. Objective observer
    Report Abuse
    Objective observer - October 10, 2012 7:27 am
    So Tiger, the wife should stay with an abusive husband? The prosecutor should try a case even though the shooter is legally justified under existing laws to defend his himself with deadly force. Got it.
  23. Kojack
    Report Abuse
    Kojack - October 10, 2012 7:21 am
    What a real victory. What a shameful story.
  24. walter12
    Report Abuse
    walter12 - October 10, 2012 7:10 am
    Yes, the husband was wronged, yes the woman is probably a tramp, and yes the boyfriend is probably a loser, but that is not the case to be tried. This is about attempting to enter a man's home to do harm to him. This is about self-defense, a God given rule of nature, not about whether leftists like a law or not.
  25. Roger
    Report Abuse
    Roger - October 10, 2012 6:38 am
    The shooting clearly was self-defense - the decision not to prosecute was entirely correct.
  26. Richland1
    Report Abuse
    Richland1 - October 10, 2012 6:15 am
    If you are dumb enough to attack someone in their own home when they are armed to defend themselves you should expect a response from the person you are attacking. The Prosecutor is following the law--plain and simple. I believe the deceased was the son of the former Chief of Police for Kalispell and clearly should have known better.
  27. Deadwolf
    Report Abuse
    Deadwolf - October 10, 2012 2:48 am
    A lesson to be learned here over a sad situation. Never go to someone's home with the intent of aggressive or threatening behavior. Go to authorities or seek legal action advice first which allows time to think things through.
  28. Tiger
    Report Abuse
    Tiger - October 09, 2012 10:46 pm
    What a gutless Prosecutor. Afraid to lose a case because it is not a slam dunk win for him. Let a jury decide the case not your ego. And the wife in this case, hope she's happy, now she can be with her young lover. I am sure that relationship will be a life long commitment or last until one of you cheaters meets someone new. Pathetic.
Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's headlines in ab…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's …

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's …

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter David Erickson presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

loading...

Search our events calendar