- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

HARDIN, Mont. (AP) - A former Colorado attorney and fly-fishing guide was found guilty of killing his wife in Montana almost 17 years ago.

Jurors deliberated for about five hours Monday before finding Brian David Laird of Fort Collins, Colorado, guilty of deliberate homicide in the July 30, 1999, death of Kathryn Laird, The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/1ntE67U ) reported.

The couple had been married about five months when Kathryn Laird died. She was 28. Her body was found in a small reservoir near Yellowtail Dam in southern Montana.

Kathryn Laird’s mother, brother and sister all testified against Bryan Laird.

Texas residents Sheri Harber and Thomas Little said they suspected their brother-in-law almost immediately.

“He had an unbelievable temper,” Little said.

Defense attorneys Matt Wald and Sandy Selvey said they will appeal the verdict. Laird, now 46, was charged in 2014.

Eric and Kathleen Anderson, who had been neighbors of the Lairds, weren’t interviewed about the case until 2012. They described hearing the couple argue at other times but said their fight on the day she died was worse. They said they heard a man yelling followed by a woman screaming.

The Andersons told FBI agents that about 20 minutes later they saw Brian Laird drive by slowly. About an hour later, they said their dog started barking in the direction of a pathway. Prosecutors argue that’s when Brian Laird walked back to the house.

One coroner determined Kathryn Laird drowned, but an FBI agent who witnessed the autopsy said the coroner - now deceased - was concerned about bruising on her neck.

Forensic pathologist Thomas Bennett testified for the defense saying that Kathryn Laird died of freshwater drowning and not at the hands of another. However, on cross examination, he acknowledged that he had earlier told state investigators that he used the terms “strangulation” and “throttling” regarding her death.

After the verdict was announced, District Judge Michael Hayworth revoked Laird’s $250,000 bond and ordered him into custody. A sentencing date wasn’t immediately set.

___

Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com

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