Mark Duane Booth

Mark Duane Booth, 52, appears via video Wednesday in Gallatin County Justice Court.

Bail was set at $2,500 Wednesday for a Livingston man accused of deleting from his phone photos and videos of young girls inside Walmart after being stopped by a Bozeman police officer.

Mark Duane Booth, 52, is charged with felony tampering with evidence. Booth appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court before Judge Rick West.

On Tuesday around 11 a.m., a Bozeman police officer responded to a report of a suspicious man taking pictures of little girls while inside Walmart, according to charging documents. The officer met with the reporting party who said the man was leaving the parking lot in a truck.

The officer stopped Booth.

Police said in charging documents that Booth denied taking pictures of young girls, but he allowed the officer to search his phone. The officer said he found several pictures of young girls inside Walmart and took a photo of the pictures before returning the phone to Booth.

The officer returned to his car and looked at the photos he took of Booth’s phone. He saw that Booth had videos from Walmart that the officer hadn’t watched or recorded. He went back to Booth’s truck and asked again to look at the pictures.

By the time the officer asked for the phone again, Booth had deleted most of the pictures and videos from Walmart, according to charging documents. Booth claimed he only deleted the pictures and videos he accidentally took.

Booth told the officer that he wasn’t intentionally taking pictures of the kids and that “he just always has his phone out and is hitting the button that takes pictures.” Booth said he wasn’t a “predator” or a “creepo,” and that he is a happily married man.

On Wednesday, Judge West asked prosecutor Eric Kitzmiller if he was requesting that Booth have no contact with children under the age of 18. Kitzmiller said he was not asking for that at this time.

“I think the investigation is still ongoing and we may learn more information, more on that, once we get him in the district court,” Kitzmiller said.

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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