GREAT FALLS — A Montana man who is charged with killing another man by hitting him in the neck with a tomahawk has also been accused of threatening a witness, the Great Falls Tribune reported Tuesday.
James Michael Parker, 33, of Great Falls pleaded not guilty Monday to the tampering count.
He previously pleaded not guilty to killing Lloyd Geaudry, 45, in 2018 during a brief street brawl involving nearly a dozen people. He is also charged with two counts of assault with a weapon.
Parker's attorney, Larry LaFountain, wasn't available for comment Tuesday.
The witness told investigators that several people saw Parker pin a woman against a refrigerator after the fight and accuse her of having an affair with Geaudry.
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The witness said Parker said he had "gotten payback" against Geaudry, that he'd used a tomahawk and anyone who snitched would be next, court records said.
When the witness was served a subpoena in October 2019 to testify at Parker's trial, he wrote to the judge saying he refused to do so. Later he said he would testify if he could be sentenced sooner on a charge he was facing.
Detectives searching jail logs say they found that Parker told the witness in August that he would kill him after learning that he was listed as a witness in the homicide case, the records state.
The men were in adjacent cells at Cascade County regional jail at the time and the witness was moved to another cell block, court records said. The threats continued in August and September and the witness was assaulted by one of his cellmates, court records said.
The witness was granted the expedited sentencing and is now in prison.
Parker's trial is set for Aug. 3.