- Associated Press - Thursday, April 8, 2021

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A California man has agreed to plea guilty to negligent homicide in the killing of a Montana man during an altercation last summer outside a Whitefish bar, according to court documents.

Xavier Chenault, 22, of Sacramento, faces 15 years in prison with 10 years suspended under the plea deal. He would receive credit for time served since being jailed in Montana in January following his arrest in Texas in November for resisting arrest.

The plea agreement signed Tuesday must be approved by state District Judge Robert Allison, the Daily Inter Lake reported.

Chenault is accused of killing Steven Speer, 25, on August 2 in the parking lot of the VFW Bar and Grill. Officers responded shortly after midnight to a report of an unconscious man, and were initially told Speer had fallen.

An investigation found that a heavily-intoxicated Speer was knocked to the ground by Chenault during what witnesses described as an argument between the two men.

Speer struck his head in the fall and died from blunt force injuries, an autopsy concluded.

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