- Associated Press - Thursday, December 19, 2019

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The case against a man accused of threatening police with a shotgun has been dismissed after a judge ruled the crime scene was not properly preserved.

The Billings Gazette reports that District Judge Michael Moses granted a motion Dec. 5 to dismiss two counts of assault with a weapon against 38-year-old Roderick Lee Little Bear.

Little Bear was accused of ignoring police commands and pointing the shotgun at two Billings Police Department officers, prosecutors said.

The officers fired multiple rounds two of which passed through Little Bear, authorities said. He was taken to St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings and later spent time recuperating at the Department of Corrections infirmary.

The pickup he was in had been stolen and was later returned to the owner after she told police it was her only mode of transportation, authorities said.

The truck might have held evidence favoring Little Bear and that they were denied the chance to examine it, defense attorneys Kaity Durdy and Joel Thompson said.

Their investigator needed to more fully examine the bullet’s path through the pickup and his body to determine if Little Bear was facing officers, attorneys for Little Bear said.

Prosecutors are planning to file a notice of appeal, Yellowstone County Attorney Scott Twito said.

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