A woman accused of driving a homicide suspect away from the scene of a fatal shooting in central Billings on Monday is being held on $25,000 bail.
Raisha Brailee Marie Blacksmith, 24, pleaded not guilty to a single count of obstructing justice in Yellowstone County District Court on Thursday. The felony charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Blacksmith is accused of driving the gunman and others away from Florine Lane, just south of Central Park, early on Monday evening after 24-year-old Brett Ness was fatally shot. Ness died from a single gunshot to the head, according to the coroner’s office, and was found in the driveway of a Florine Lane apartment. Police arrived at 5:22 p.m.
According to charging documents, neighbors told police that after they heard a gunshot, a gray passenger vehicle left the area at high speed. The car had one door of a different color, and a second passenger vehicle arrived and left the scene with the gray car, the neighbors said.
Blacksmith, a Lodge Grass resident, was pulled over in Big Horn County with a juvenile female passenger and an adult male with a gun, according to charges. She told a sheriff’s deputy that she had followed another car to the Florine Lane residence and that after Ness was shot, the shooter got into her car and she dropped him off at a home in the Central-Terry neighborhood, according to charges. She then drove toward the Crow Reservation.
Prosecutors say police obtained video footage from nearby buildings that show at least five people exiting the cars before Ness was shot.
No other charges have been filed in the case.
Ness' death marked the second fatal shooting in Billings in recent days, after 50-year-old Micah Aaron Myron was found unresponsive on the sidewalk on the 100 block of South 31st Street Sunday. Police arrived shortly before 10 p.m.
Myron's death was the first fatal shooting of 2020 in Billings and the first in Billings since June 2019.
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