Lloyd Barrus verdict

Lloyd Barrus awaits the jury's verdict Tuesday as his defense attorneys, Craig Shannon, left, and Greg Jackson confer. Barrus was found guilty of one count of deliberate homicide by accountability and two counts of attempted homicide by accountability.

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A jury Tuesday evening found Lloyd Barrus guilty of deliberate homicide by accountability in the shooting of Broadwater Deputy Mason Moore in the early hours of May 16, 2017.

Relatives of Moore, friends and law enforcement officers from several counties came together in tearful embrace following the verdict late Tuesday, more than four years after Moore’s death and after a trial lasting almost three weeks.

The jury came to the verdict after over two hours of deliberation and 10 hours of closing arguments at the Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse Tuesday.

Again, the prosecution played the tape of Moore’s last minutes alive, captured by video in the cab of his patrol car. The courtroom fell silent except for the sobs of family and friends and the sounds of Moore’s labored breathing after he was hit by a first volley of gunfire while in high-speed pursuit of Lloyd and Marshall Barrus.

Prosecutors said Lloyd and Marshall Barrus, his son, were on a “suicide mission” when they passed Moore driving 100 mph on U.S. 287 south of Townsend. They said Moore was struck in the face by a bullet through his windshield, his car stopped in the grass just south of Three Forks, and he was alive until the Chevy Suburban returned four minutes later and additional gunshots from a semi-automatic rifle ended his life.

Lead prosecutor Daniel Guzynski, assistant attorney general for the state, pointed to a glow in the corner of the camera — what the prosecution argued were headlights of the Suburban driven by Lloyd Barrus as he and his son returned to let off another volley of shots into Moore.

“As Mason is suffering, you’ll hear these 19 rounds,” Guzynski said.

After jurors again listened to the sounds of the gunshots, Guzynski reminded the jury of the testimony from law enforcement specialists: The words “Go, go, go,” could be heard on the camera following the shots.

“Not a sound from Mason,” Guzynski said. “What other reason besides hatred?”

Butte-Silver Bow police spotted the Suburban about an hour later and started a 90-mile chase that ended in Missoula County on Interstate 90. Bullets fired from the Suburban knocked two Butte patrol cars from the pursuit, and by then troopers and police from several counties were involved.

The chase came to a close in a shootout. Marshall Barrus was shot and killed by police and Lloyd Barrus was apprehended.

Lloyd Barrus was charged with one count of deliberate homicide by accountability in the slaying of Moore, and charged with two counts of attempted deliberate homicide by accountability when Marshall Barrus tried to kill other officers during the chase and shootout.

Lloyd Barrus was found guilty of all three charges Tuesday, and each charge carries a possible life sentence.

During the day’s impassioned closing arguments, the prosecution tried to prove that Marshall Barrus was responsible for deliberate homicide and attempted homicide, and that Lloyd Barrus was accountable by soliciting, aiding, abetting or agreeing with Marshall.

“Everything he did was helping his son to try to kill those officers,” said prosecuting attorney Cory Swanson from Broadwater County.

The prosecution argued with evidence that Lloyd Barrus, both before and after the rampage, had exhibited anti-government and anti-police rhetoric.

In a video of his arrest he said, “I’m just fucking evil militia.”

The prosecution presented bullet-riddled windshields and patrol cars as evidence of attempted murder, and emphasized the fact Moore’s patrol car camera showed Lloyd Barrus kept the Suburban straight when the first shots were fired.

Swanson said that was clear evidence that Lloyd Barrus knew what his son intended to do.

“He expected the shots,” Swanson said.

Swanson also argued that Marshall Barrus reloaded before the last 19 shots were fired at Moore, indicating cooperation from Lloyd Barrus.

Defense attorney Craig Shannon argued adamantly that the state’s case was lacking in evidence, especially refuting the prosecution’s argument that experts testified headlights were visible in the corner of Moore’s patrol car’s camera.

Shannon repeatedly called out the state for not meeting the burden of evidence to prove Lloyd Barrus guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“It’s all very vague thanks to the state,” he said. “You do your job and I’ll do mine.”

The prosecutors repeatedly objected when Shannon generated hypothetical conversations between Lloyd and Marshall Barrus. Twice District Judge Kathy Seeley sustained those objections.

“You are not to make up conversations,” Seeley told Shannon.

Shannon also argued against the prosecution’s case that Marshall Barrus shot from the passenger seat. He showed the jury a long line of evidence images he said proved the bullets’ trajectory more likely came from the back seat. He also argued glass on the highway came from Marshall shooting out the rear windshield.

That was all to show that Lloyd Barrus may not have had any control over Marshall Barrus’ actions, and therefore wasn’t accountable.

Swanson countered that the sheer number of miles driven, the style of driving, and the fact Marshall repeatedly fired at police from the vehicle more than condemned Lloyd Barrus to accountability.

“It is clear that his driving helped him (Marshall) try to kill those officers,” Swanson said.

The defense and prosecution agreed Lloyd Barrus himself had fired off a pistol during the final shootout. The timing and angle of the firing was debated, with the defense saying he was firing into the air — not at officers.

Swanson countered shooting with the intention to distract still qualified as accountability, as officers identified the muzzle flash from Lloyd Barrus’ pistol as a confirmed threat.

“Shooting that gun is helping Marshall,” he said.

Swanson also reiterated that a nine millimeter bullet was found lodged in the squad car of Montana Highway Patrolman Tim Wyckoff’s car, and nobody else was using nine millimeter ammunition during the shootout.

Everything from body cams on officers, videos from the chases, a myriad of bullet casings, the anti-government manifesto written by Lloyd Barrus and the autopsy of Marshall Barrus were rehashed by attorneys Tuesday.

Before the jury went to deliberate, Swanson told them they only had to agree on one of the three homicide charges, and on only one way in which Lloyd Barrus was accountable.

In the end, the jury found Lloyd Barrus guilty of all three.

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