- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A deliberate homicide trial is underway in Butte in the case of a man charged with killing his father in 2008.

Prosecutors allege 25-year-old Adam Hatfield used a baseball bat to beat Matt Hatfield to death in the cabin the two shared just outside Butte.

“In the end, Matt Hatfield was reduced to a bone - not a pile of bones, but a bone,” chief deputy Silver Bow County attorney Samm Cox said during opening arguments Monday.

Matt Hatfield, 49, was reported missing by family members in December 2008.

Adam Hatfield, then 18, told officers he had last spoken with his father on Nov. 29, 2008, but prosecutors say he made “inconsistent statements.”

During a police interview, Adam Hatfield offered that his father might have either “high-tailed it to the mountains” to live alone or may have been hurt while hunting, court records said.

Butte Silver-Bow Sheriff Ed Lester said officers searched the cabin, where they found what appeared to be blood splatter on a night stand, blood stains on the floor and a burned baseball bat with red stains.

The case remained cold until a research scientist found the top of a skull near a campground north of Butte in October 2010. Forensic testing found a “high probability” that the skull belonged to a parent of Adam Hatfield and that blood found in the cabin contained the same DNA. Adam Hatfield was arrested in February 2014 in South Dakota after investigators were able to prove that Matt Hatfield was dead.

Defense attorney Randi Hood said Monday that prosecutors have no evidence her client killed his father.

“He is not always truthful … and takes property,” Hood said of her client. “But you will not hear anything that says he murdered his father.”

Butte Silver-Bow dispatcher Katherine Fontaine testified Monday that she contacted Adam Hatfield after his mother reported Matt Hatfieldwas missing. Fontaine said Adam Hatfield offered to check on him and call back, but he never did.

The trial, being heard by a jury of eight men and four women, was expected to continue into next week.

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