By Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2021

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - A Missoula man is charged with deliberate homicide for allegedly shooting his father in what he said was self-defense and firing a final shot to “put him out of his misery.”

Colton Ryan Merritt, 22, appeared before Justice of the Peace Landee Holloway Tuesday. His bail was set at $2 million.

“In this case, the defendant shot his father in what he claimed was self-defense, but admitted that he shot him at least around 19 times with a rifle that he had to stop and reload,” deputy Missoula County attorney Jordan Kilby said, KGVO-AM reported.

Daniel L. Merritt, 57, had been dead for about 21 hours when Colton Merritt called 911 Monday afternoon to report the shooting, Kilby said.

Colton Merritt told investigators his father had threatened to break down his door and kill him, court records said. As his father opened the door, Colton Merritt told deputies he shot him with a .22-caliber bolt-action rifle, court records said.

After shooting his father, Colton Merritt told investigators that it looked like he was still alive and he shot him again to put him “out of his misery,” the Missoulian reported.

Merritt did not enter a plea. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 25.

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