Billings man sentenced to 75 years in prison for homicide

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings man with a criminal history dating back to age 9 has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for shooting and killing a man in Billings at the start of a crime spree that ended when he shot and injured a man in Butte.

Colby Allen Clark, 22, was sentenced Wednesday by District Court Judge Colette Davies in Billings after a two-hour hearing. The defense said that Clark shot Micah Aaron Myron, 50, in April 2020 because when Clark arrived at Myron’s house to buy drugs, Myron was arguing with his wife and their roommate.

Witnesses testified that Clark repeatedly told Myron to leave, but he refused and charged Clark. Clark told Myron to back off several times before shooting Myron once, Billings Police Detective Sgt. Ryan Kramer testified during the sentencing hearing, The Billings Gazette reported.

Clark fled the house in a friend’s truck before kicking the friend out of the truck and driving to Butte. A four-day crime spree by Clark in Butte ended when he shot and injured a man while trying to rob him at a park in Butte, authorities have said.

Clark was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the Butte crimes, The Montana Standard reported. The sentences for the two shootings will run at the same time.

Clark was convicted of his first felony at the age of 9 when he and another boy burned down an abandoned house, court records said. He spent most of the following nine years in juvenile treatment in group homes or at Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility.

During Clark’s sentencing in Butte, defense attorney Britt Carter said an evaluation found that Clark “had an extremely traumatic childhood, including exposure to violence, drug abuse and essentially being abandoned by his parents.”

Judge Davies took a 20-minute recess while she weighed the testimony given during the hearing compared to the plea agreement negotiated in the deliberate homicide case that called for Clark to be sentenced to 80 years in prison.

“It is undeniable that Mr. Clark had no real opportunity for a chance in this world having been institutionalized largely since the age of nine,” Davies said. “The court also finds it mitigating that Micah (Myron) apparently did not back away.”

But she also said Clark poses a danger to the community.

“I’m troubled by the history of impulsivity,” she said. “It seems to the court that you struggle to control your behavior and that you have a short fuse and when it’s gone it’s gone and that makes me worried for my state, my town, my community. And I’m instructed to try and keep this community safe.”