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The man who as a teenager shot a Lewistown vice principal and killed a substitute teacher in 1986 in Montana's highest-profile school shooting now lives in Nebraska after being paroled nearly three years ago. 

On Dec. 4, 1986, then-14-year-old Kristofor Hans went to Fergus High School in Lewistown with a .44 Magnum, intent on killing his French teacher because she was giving him a failing grade.

Hans knocked at the classroom door, but Henrietta Smith, who was filling in for the teacher he planned to kill that day, answered. Hans shot her point-blank in the face.

He then shot vice principal John Moffatt — who was doing rounds checking on substitute teachers — in the stomach. When the shot took Moffatt to the ground, Hans pointed the gun at the vice principal’s head and pulled the trigger again from 5 feet away. Moffatt later told the Missoulian that he felt the round pass below his chin and ricochet off the floor next to his fingers.

The round that struck him in the stomach exited and hit a cinderblock wall, shattering and sending fragments in all directions, hitting two students in their feet.

Moffatt was dragged into a nearby classroom by another teacher, and his life was saved by a parent who worked as a military medic who happened to be visiting that day.

Hans was tried as an adult and and eventually pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide, attempted deliberate homicide and two counts of assault with a weapon, as well as enhancements for the use of a deadly weapon.

The Montana Supreme Court later upheld Hans’ conviction on appeal.

Hans was up for parole several times until April 2015, when the Montana Board of Probation and Parole said he could be released after completing certain requirements. He was released in June 2015 to live in Nebraska under what is called an interstate compact, with that state responsible for his parole supervision.

As his initial sentence was for 203 years, Hans — now 45 years old — will be on parole supervision for the remainder of his life unless a court rules otherwise.

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Law and Justice Reporter

Crime reporter for the Missoulian.