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Skyler Schneider sitting at counsel's desk during his 2018 homicide trial

Skyler Schneider sits at his counsel's desk during his homicide trial in Helena. 

THOMAS PLANK, thomas.plank@helenair.com

A 22-year-old Helena man charged with killing his girlfriend in July is on trial in district court. 

Skyler T. Schneider was charged with deliberate homicide after 23-year-old Katherine Spencer was found in a vehicle at 29 12th Ave. on July 1 with a single gunshot wound to the head. Police say the woman was transported to St. Peter's Hospital, where she later died. 

Court documents state Schneider called 911 at 11:39 p.m. to report the shooting and was speaking with a dispatcher on his cellphone when he was detained.

Authorities found a single bullet entrance hole on the passenger side of the front windshield and a 9 mm shell casing on the ground by the vehicle. Officers also found a 9 mm handgun in the bushes near the vehicle, and they recovered ammunition matching the gun during a search of the home Schneider and Spencer shared. 

Schneider later told authorities that he and Spencer had been arguing, but he denied shooting her. 

Schneider's trial began Monday afternoon and continued Tuesday as prosecuting county attorneys Leo Gallagher and Melissa Broch called officers to testify about the night Spencer was shot.

Dressed in slacks and a collared shirt and tie, Schneider was silent through most of the afternoon testimony Tuesday but cried as officer Matt Post's body camera footage depicted the shooting scene. Spencer's body could be seen in the video, and screaming could be heard in the background. 

Nearly 20 people were in the gallery Tuesday to watch the trial, which will continue this week in Judge Mike McMahon's courtroom. 

If convicted, Schneider faces up to 100 years in the Montana State Prison.

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