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Law

BOZEMAN — A southwestern Montana man is charged with breaking into a residence and killing his estranged wife.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 47-year-old Joseph Paul DeWise of Bozeman was arrested Thursday and appeared in Justice Court Friday on a deliberate homicide charge. He's accused in the death of 35-year-old Lauren Walder DeWise in Belgrade on Sunday. He did not enter a plea.

Another woman, 32-year-old Ashley Van Hemert, was critically injured in the shooting. Belgrade police said they are still investigating. Van Hemert was one of Lauren DeWise's roommates.

Investigators say another roommate who reported the shooting told them Lauren DeWise had recently moved in and had asked Joseph DeWise for a divorce.

Gallatin County prosecutors argued for $1 million bail while defense attorney Valerie Cairns argued $50,000 bail was more reasonable and that her client is presumed innocent. Justice of the Peace Bryan Adams set his bail at $800,000.

Court records say Lauren DeWise's friends and co-workers told investigators that she reported her husband had been physically abusing her and had threatened to kill her if she left him.

Investigators say Joseph DeWise has repeatedly denied any involvement in the shooting.

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