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Attorney for Samuel Yates says client will post property bond

The Missoula man jailed on murder charges after he shot and killed a 17-year-old he said was breaking into his car will likely be released soon.

Justice of the Peace John Odlin reduced Samuel Yates' bail from $100,000 to $40,000 Monday, under the condition that Yates remain under electronic monitoring at a cost of $10 a day. Yates will leave his home only for "necessary living purposes" and for work. He must also meet with a probation officer at least once a week, and he will be subject to random urinalysis.

Attorney Ronald Bender, appearing on Yates' behalf Monday, said Yates will be able to post the $40,000 with a property bond. He was still in jail late Monday.

"He is not a risk of flight," Bender said. "He has family here."

Yates is a single father with custody of two children, ages 10 and 16, and his release will allow him to care for his kids, Bender added.

During Yates' hearing Monday, Odlin noted that it is highly unusual to require bail when someone is released on pretrial supervision.

"We'd be glad to have no bond at all if it's agreeable to the county attorney," Bender told the judge.

"Well, it's not," replied County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, adding that he believed a monetary requirement of "some significance" would be necessary for both public safety and fairness.

He called the $40,000 bail a reasonable middle ground.

"He's got something at risk if he violates the conditions of his release," Van Valkenburg said later.

Yates has been in jail since early March 11. He admitted to shooting 17-year-old Randy Paul Brown once in the back of the head with a .357 revolver at about midnight on March 10. Yates told police he had caught Brown breaking into his car, which was parked just outside the door of his house at 1625 1/2 Phillips St.

"This is the second time my car has been broken into, and I'm getting tired of it," Yates said.

Brown died at about 4 p.m. the next day. Police have said the 5-foot-6-inch, 120-pound teen-ager was unarmed and running away from Yates when the older man fired his gun from a distance of about three feet.

Brown, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, was buried outside Browning last Wednesday. At his wake and funeral, family and friends remembered him as a caring, happy young man who loved basketball and was always willing to baby-sit his younger siblings and cousins.

Reporter Ericka Schenck Smith can be reached at 523-5259 or at eschencksmith@missoulian.com

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