A 48-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to amended charges stemming from the death of a fellow transient in Missoula.

Eugene "Joey" Gonzalez pleaded not guilty Thursday to accountability for deliberate homicide and alternative counts of accountability for negligent homicide or accountability for criminal endangerment. He was initially charged with deliberate homicide in the April 12, 2010, attack on 46-year-old Johnny Joe Belmarez.

Co-defendant, 41-year-old Raymond Big Beaver, was acquitted in August of murder but was convicted of misdemeanor assault. He testified he slapped Belmarez once and punched him twice in the head before leaving him leaning against a fence.

Beaver's attorneys said Belmarez was extremely drunk and had a history of head injuries, including one in 2005 similar to the one that killed him.

Associated Press