A Billings man accused of shooting a man in a parking lot at McGruff Park in Butte last April pleaded guilty to lesser charges Wednesday but could still be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors initially charged 22-year-old Colby Allen Clark with attempted deliberate homicide, robbery, tampering with evidence and criminal endangerment. Attempted homicide alone carries a maximum sentence of 100 years and robbery is punishable by up to 40 years.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Clark pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault with a weapon, which carries a maximum 20-year term, and criminal endangerment, which has a 10-year maximum.
District Judge Kurt Krueger ordered a presentence investigation with sentencing to be set later. Clark was returned to jail after the hearing.
According to prosecutors, a woman who knew Clark from the Butte Pre-Release Center ran into him at a store in Deer Lodge on April 30, 2020, and rode with him in a silver Ford Ranger to Butte. They went to another man’s house and drove him to a T-Mobile store, where he paid a bill and bought some headphones.
When the man went to retrieve a backpack from the bed of the pickup, he said Clark told him he was “gonna jack” his belongings, brandished a black “Glock-looking” handgun and shot him. He was shot once in the hip and once in the stomach and was taken to St. James Healthcare, where he was able to give police his version of events.
After the shooting, Clark drove off with the woman in the truck and ultimately led police on a high-speed chase before he crashed into a handrail at the corner of Second Street and Utah Avenue and fled on foot.
Officers quickly located him hiding behind some garbage cans in an alley and arrested him. They retraced the route of the chase and located a Glock 9mm handgun, which had been reported stolen in Billings.