GREAT FALLS — A Wolf Point man faces federal charges for a series of fights in March that left one man dead, another severely beaten and a third with a broken nose.
Mervin Clarence Hale Jr., 42, pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injuries during a hearing before Magistrate Judge Keith Strong in Great Falls. Strong ordered Hale detained while the case proceeds.
Witnesses told investigators that Hale beat, kicked and stomped on Laramie Wallace repeatedly early on March 19, leaving a shoe print on his face. Witnesses said Hale would kick Wallace every time he tried to get back up.
Hale was reportedly upset because Wallace owed him money and because Wallace's girlfriend had complained about Wallace hurting her in some way, court records said. The son of Wallace's girlfriend suffered a broken nose when he tried to break up the fight, charging documents said.
After Wallace was beaten, Hale went to a nearby residence where prosecutors say he beat another man so badly the man needed plates in his forehead and his jaw wired shut, court records said.
Wallace, 47, did not receive any medical treatment on March 19. The next day, a co-worker who was a home health provider came to have him sign a time card, noticed the injuries and called her supervisor, who is a nurse. The nurse took Wallace to the hospital, where he was treated for the assault and checked for head injuries, court records said.
Wallace died the next day of blood loss due to a lacerated liver suffered in the beating, prosecutors said.
Hale told investigators he was intoxicated and does not remember assaulting Wallace. Hale has been assigned a federal public defender.