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Prosecutors said Tuesday they will consider the the death penalty for a man accused of shooting and killing a woman in front of his home in Ennis.

Rick Park, 53, is charged with felonies deliberate homicide and assault with a weapon in connection to the death of Nicole Watson, 36, of Helena. He appeared Tuesday in Gallatin County Justice Court as a courtesy for Madison County.

Park is being held at the Gallatin County jail without bail.

Madison County Attorney Chris Christensen said no bail was set during the hearing because “it’s a possible death penalty and the circumstances of the crime.” However, he said, it’s early in the process and the investigation is not yet complete.

Prosecutors may seek the death penalty in deliberate homicide cases if aggravating circumstances can be proven. Those circumstances include if the assailant was lying in wait or ambush, was previously convicted of deliberate homicide or was sexually assaulting the victim when the homicide occurred.

On Friday around 2 p.m., Madison County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of a gunshot on West Hugel Street.

Watson later died from a gunshot wound to her head at the Madison Valley Medical Center, court documents say.

Police said in charging documents that Park was found near Watson’s body in front of his house. They also found two spent cartridges.

Park subsequently told police that he shot Watson, according to court documents. He then turned over the gun he used.

Watson’s husband told police that he and Watson went to Park’s house as part of a child custody exchange. They walked up to Park’s house and knocked on his door. Park opened the door, pointed the gun at Watson and fired one shot at her, court documents say.

Watson’s husband told police that Park then fired another shot at Watson’s head, court documents say. Park then pointed the gun at the man and told him to call 911.

Park went into his home. The man ran to an off-duty deputy’s house and called 911. Police arrested Park.

This story has been updated to reflect that Rick Park is charged in connection to the crime.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at or at 406-582-2630.

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