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Defendant accused of shooting Butte man in the face pleads not guilty

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A Butte man accused of shooting a neighbor in the face and abdomen had a deep cut and other facial injuries himself when arrested and told police, “He was going to kill me.”

But prosecutors charged 36-year-old Martin Bradley Coleman in the June 11 shooting and Thursday he pleaded not guilty to attempted deliberate homicide and felony possession of dangerous drugs.

District Judge Kurt Krueger accepted the pleas and set the next hearing for Sept. 29.

Coleman faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life if convicted of attempted homicide and a maximum five years for the drug charge.

Coleman was cuffed and dressed in orange jail garb during Thursday’s hearing and when Krueger asked him if he had any questions about the charges, he said, “I just don’t think it’s right.”

He got a few more words out before the judge cut him off. Krueger also rejected a request from Coleman’s attorney to reduce bail from $250,000 to $25,000. A woman in the gallery then asked if she could say something.

“No you may not,” the judge said. Coleman said the woman was his girlfriend, she lived in his house and he just wanted to visit, but Krueger said, “Thank you” and he was escorted out of the courtroom and returned to jail.

Coleman is accused of shooting a 42-year-old man in a house in the 1300 block of East Park Place around 2 p.m. on June 11, a Saturday. A woman said the two were arguing in the living room and after she told them to take it outside, she heard gunshots.

Police found the victim inside the door and before he was taken to the hospital, he said “Marty” was the shooter, he lived across the alley and drove a red truck, according to prosecutors. The victim survived his injuries.

Police went to the suspect’s house and a woman told him he wasn’t there and she hadn’t seen him since morning. Officers located Coleman’s vehicle at an apartment complex several hours later and when he came out of an apartment, he was arrested.

“During the arrest of Coleman, he began crying and said he had been ‘so scared’ all day,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents. “He also made a couple of comments, ‘he was going to kill me, he was going to kill me.’”

Police said he had numerous facial injuries, including a deep laceration, and an abrasion and bruising injury on his torso. Officers located a small caliber handgun in the apartment with blood on it and it had a bullet in the chamber.

Police also found a pouch with a clear baggie containing a white crystal substance that appeared to be meth.

During Thursday’s hearing, defense attorney Sarah Busch said Coleman had moved from California to Montana four years ago “to get a fresh start,” and though he had a criminal history, none of it occurred in Montana.

She said he had steady employment and other ties to Butte and was not a flight risk, but prosecutor Kelli Fivey opposed a bond reduction, citing the seriousness of the crime and other factors.


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