Broadwater County officials are seeking donations from other counties to help prosecute a man accused of killing a sheriff’s deputy in 2017.

Lloyd Barrus is charged with deliberate homicide and several other felonies in the shooting of Broadwater County deputy Mason Moore near Three Forks. Barrus was arrested in Missoula County following a more than 100-mile chase that involved several law enforcement agencies and ended in a shootout that killed his son Marshall Barrus near Rock Creek. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Cory Swanson, Broadwater County attorney, said the cost of prosecuting the case has become staggering for the small county.

In 2018, he requested $25,000 each from Missoula, Powell, Anaconda Deer-Lodge and Butte-Silverbow counties to pay for mental health expert witnesses in the case. Granite County pitched in $25,000 and is the only county to donate, Swanson said. Butte-Silverbow County is considering whether it could spare money for the case.

“We’re just tying to put together a method of various sources of funds to help pay for it,” he said.

The counties are not obligated to help, Swanson said, but they “all have an interest in trying to take care of the case that affected everybody.”

Swanson and Broadwater County commissioners continue to look for money in the county budget and other sources as the case continues.

“It’s tight, there’s no doubt about it,” Swanson said.

Mike Delger, Broadwater County commissioner, said the county has already spent $300,000 in federal money on the case and is squeezing everything it can from the county attorney’s budget. That’s money that could be spent on things like constructing a Three Forks public safety center, equipment and staff for the sheriff’s office, and other county operations, he said.

“It creates a huge financial burden with anything we’re trying to do in the county,” Delger said.

He said the county could be wiped out if the defense were to ask for a change of venue. That would fall on it to pay for witnesses and court staff to travel to another county, Delger said.

“We don’t have money laying aside to bear that expense,” he said.

The Montana Attorney General is helping prosecute the case.

John Barnes, spokesman for the office of the attorney general, said a Broadwater County District Judge required Barrus in April to take antipsychotic medication to stand trial. Barnes said that ruling, however, has been placed on hold because Barrus’ attorneys have appealed to the Montana Supreme Court, where the issue is pending.

Barrus is being held at the Galen Forensic Center of the Montana State Hospital while his case is pending.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

Reporter

Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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