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Teen in fatal crash faces charges
Michael Paul McCormick, 18, of Billings, appeared by video from the county jail and pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony burglary and a third count of felony burglary by accountability. Judge Ingrid Gustafson set bond at $5,000 after McCormick said he turned himself in when he learned of the charges against him.

A passenger in the vehicle driven by Brian Houston last April when it slammed into a car on Grand Avenue and killed a nurse was charged Friday in District Court.

Michael Paul McCormick, 18, of Billings, appeared by video from the county jail and pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony burglary and a third count of felony burglary by accountability. Judge Ingrid Gustafson set bond at $5,000 after McCormick said he turned himself in when he learned of the charges against him.

McCormick was arrested recently in Helena on a Yellowstone County warrant. A public defender told the judge Friday that McCormick could live with relatives in Laurel if he is released from jail. McCormick said he could get a job selling vacuum cleaners.

The charges were filed after Houston was sentenced in October for the April 18 death of Lillian Stahl.

Houston, who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The next month, Houston gave a detailed statement describing a string of burglaries that he said he committed with McCormick and a third person, David Hunt.

Some of the stolen property from the burglaries was found in Houston's GMC Jimmy after it crashed into Stahl's car.

Houston and McCormick were 17 at the time of the fatal crash. Houston was charged as an adult and later waived a hearing to consider whether the case should be returned to Youth Court.

McCormick was also charged as an adult, but the case could still be returned to Youth Court. A hearing on that issue will be scheduled later.

Hunt, 19, pleaded guilty to burglary and other charges last year and is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday. He is being held in the county jail on $40,000 bond.

According to prosecutors, the three teenagers had committed at least one burglary the day before the crash and pawned several stolen items for cash. The money was used to by cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana, court records state. Other burglaries involving the three happened during the two weeks preceding the crash.

After a night of drinking, Houston and McCormick left Houston's house early in the morning of April 18. Houston was still drunk when his GMC hit a trash bin in an alley and drew the attention of a Billings police officer.

Houston, with McCormick in the passenger seat, then tried to elude a sheriff's deputy during a brief pursuit. The deputy called off the chase, but Houston kept driving, ran a stop sign and hit Stahl's car broadside.

Stahl died at the scene. Emergency crews found Houston unconscious and slumped onto McCormick's lap. McCormick was conscious and asking for help as crews arrived, court records state.

Houston and McCormick were treated at St. Vincent Healthcare and released.

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