- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A murder-for-hire charge filed against a Kalispell man earlier this year has been dismissed because a recorded conversation between the man and his cellmate was indecipherable, the Flathead County attorney said.

The judge also ruled prosecutors couldn’t introduce evidence of prior conflicts between Matthew Heuer and his ex-wife, County Attorney Ed Corrigan told The Daily Inter Lake (https://bit.ly/1mLoUQr).

“Over the weekend while I was getting ready to help (deputy county attorney Kenneth Park) with the trial and going over the file, I came to the conclusion that dismissing the case because of evidentiary issues was the appropriate course to take,” Corrigan said Tuesday.

Heuer, 38, was convicted of felony criminal endangerment in February for firing a gun at his neighbor and sentenced to five years with the Department of Corrections. Prosecutors say four days later, Heuer offered his cellmate a pickup truck and cash to kill his ex-wife and her victim advocate, Janiece Hamilton.

The cellmate wore a recording device during another conversation with Heuer, but Corrigan said Heuer’s voice was difficult to understand even after the FBI tried to enhance the recording.



Two officers listened to the conversation. Documents charging Heuer with solicitation of deliberate homicide said officers heard Heuer “describe in detail” how he wanted his ex-wife killed. But Corrigan said they did not specifically hear Heuer say that he wanted her to be killed. That left only the testimony of the cellmate.

After the judge’s ruling: “We were going to have to tell the jury that this guy is trying to get someone to kill his wife without explaining any of the history or surrounding circumstances,” Corrigan said.

In this type of case, “what you want to show the jury is that this last charge is part of an escalating course of behavior by the defendant.”

On Monday afternoon, a judge granted an order of protection for Tarsha Heuer and her four children. Matthew Heuer is father of two of the children.

“It’s just a piece of paper, not a bulletproof vest,” said crime victim advocate Monica Huffman, who is also working with Tarsha Heuer.

Matthew Heuer is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections and will be transferred to the Missoula Assessment and Sanctions Center for an assessment, according to his attorney, Sean Hinchey.

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Information from: Daily Inter Lake, https://www.dailyinterlake.com

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