22 year-old Colton Merritt is in the Missoula County Jail on $2 million bond after admitting that he shot his father, 57 year-old Daniel Merritt 19 times with a .22 caliber rifle and left his body on the floor overnight before calling 9-1-1.

At Merritt’s Missoula Justice Court appearance before Judge Landee Holloway on Tuesday, Deputy County Attorney Jordan Kilby laid out the facts of the case.

“Your Honor, the seriousness of this offense warrants a $2 million bail,” said Kilby. “In this case, the defendant shot his father in what he claimed was self defense, but admitted that he shot him at least around 19 times with a rifle that he had to stop and reload.”

Kilby said Merritt’s treatment of his father’s remains was also very troubling.

“The defendant let his father lay on their home on the floor of their home for 21 hours before he called law enforcement,” she said. “He has no criminal history, but his behavior is seriously concerning and justifies this bail amount.”

Kilby pointed out that other recent similar crimes also drew a very high bail to protect the safety of the public.

“The reason again for the high amount of bail, in light of all of the factors that the court has to consider is that the defendant poses a serious risk to the community, given his admitted behavior, and his failure to report,” she said. “I'd also note, Your Honor, that Zachai Houck’s bail was set at $2 million; Christopher Newrider’s bail was set at $1 million. Christopher Newrider likewise was asserting a self defense claim. He did not report the offense. And essentially all of this is to say when someone is alleged to have committed a deliberate homicide, the court should set bail in a high amount to protect the community.”

Judge Holloway set bail at $2 million and Merritt was returned to the jail to await his arraignment in Missoula District Court.


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