A man accused of shooting another man to death on Billings’ North Side in October will argue in court that he acted in self-defense.
Counsel for Mahpevana-Hane Lorne Bearcomesout, 35, will argue that he used justifiable force and acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 32-year-old Misael Santiago, according to a notice signed Dec. 19 by assistant public defender Randi M. Hood.
Police arrested Bearcomesout on Oct. 20 after finding Santiago dead from multiple gunshot wounds in the driveway of a home at 1128 N. 24th St.
Bearcomesout told investigators that he shot Santiago in self-defense after confronting the man about a pit bull puppy and long gun that he believed Santiago had stolen, according to charging documents.
Bearcomesout pleaded not guilty Oct. 31 to charges of felony deliberate homicide, with a weapons enhancement, and tampering with or fabricating evidence. He is being held at the county jail on $500,000 bond.
The self-defense notice states that counsel may call on witnesses Randolph Ridgebear, Devan Sanchez, Lou Ann Mason and London Cavanaugh to testify during Bearcomesout’s trial, which is scheduled for March 3.
Charging documents give a narrative of events surrounding the shooting:
A woman at the house named Tamara Lincoln told police that on the night of the shooting, Santiago had gone outside to speak with a man who was pounding on the door.
Both she and her sister, London Cavanaugh, who rents the home and was Santiago’s girlfriend, said they were inside the home for the night and didn’t hear anything after Santiago left.
Cavanaugh told police that Santiago had left the residence at about 3 a.m. with a black long gun with a stock and an extended magazine.
A neighbor, however, told police that the sound of three gunshots woke her up at about 2:30 a.m., the documents say.
Bearcomesout told officers that after confronting Santiago, he chambered a round in his .45-caliber Desert Eagle pistol and shot Santiago several times because he thought the man was reaching for a weapon, the affidavit states.
Bearcomesout acknowledged to police that Santiago didn’t show a weapon and that he, Bearcomesout, never saw a weapon, the documents say.
Investigators did not find any weapons on or near Santiago. A search warrant for Bearcomesout’s residence turned up a gun matching the description of the reportedly stolen long gun.
Bearcomesout said that after the shooting he buried his pistol in the dirt by a garbage dumpster. He told police where to find the gun, but it wasn’t there, according to charging documents.
Police Lt. Kevin Iffland said Tuesday the weapon hasn’t been found.