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Norman found guilty on one count of deliberate homicide

After a week-long bench trial, 18th Judicial District Judge John C. Brown found 27-year-old Zachary Norman guilty on April 25 of one of two counts of deliberate homicide in the January 15, 2022, shooting deaths of brothers Chase and Brendan Estabrook in Three Forks.

In his ruling, Brown found Norman guilty of the deliberate homicide of Chase Estabrook and not guilty of the deliberate homicide of Brendan Estabrook. Following a jury trial in July of 2023, Brown announced a mistrial in the two deliberate homicide cases, with the jury deadlocked at 10 in favor of guilty and two for acquittal. The 2023 jury did return with a conviction of Norman on two counts of felony tampering with evidence.

For the deliberate homicide conviction, Norman is facing a sentence of death, life imprisonment, or a term of 10 to 100 years. For the felony tampering evidence convictions, Norman is facing a prison term of up to 10 years.

Sentencing for Norman has been scheduled for June 17.

The case was moved from the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office to the state’s Prosecution Services Bureau in early 2023.

According to the original charging documents, the Gallatin County Dispatch received a report early January 15, 2022, of two people suffering from gunshot wounds in the area of 6th Ave. E. and E. Ash Street at 3:28 a.m., and later received a second call where the caller said they believed both victims were deceased due to their wounds. After responding to the scene, depu-ties were informed a male named “Zac” might have been responsible for the shooting and identified three witnesses who were still at the scene.

The first witness, who is a bartender at a local bar, told investigators the two victims were at the bar earlier in the evening, and they all agreed to go to a residence after closing. The witness told deputies he observed a physical altercation between Norman and the victims that spilled out into the driveway. The witness stated he believed the fight had ended when Norman walked away from the residence, followed by the victims. According to the charging documents, the first witness heard a “commotion” and observed more fighting near the previously mentioned intersection.

As he approached the fighting, the witness stated that he heard approximately five or six gunshots, followed by a few more gunshots after a brief pause. The witness observed Norman fleeing the scene while the two victims were lying on the ground.

The two other witnesses told detectives that Norman began arguing with the victims, and that escalated into a physical altercation. Both witnesses stated they heard gunshots or loud noises and subsequently discovered Brendan and Chase Estabrook lying on the ground with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

 
 
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