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Norman receives 100-year sentence for deliberate homicide

At a hearing Monday, June 17, in Bozeman, 18th Judicial District Court Judge John C. Brown sentenced Zachary Norman to 100 years in the Montana State Prison for the January 15, 2022, shooting death of Chase Estabrook in Three Forks.

After a week-long bench trial in April 2024, Brown found 27-year-old 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.

Brown also sentenced Norman on Monday to ten years in Montana State Prison for each tampering with evidence conviction. The three sentences will be served concurrently. Norman will be eligible for parole in 25 years.

Before the sentencing, the courtroom was cleared after Roger Estabrook, the father of Chase and Brendan, said he had a shank with him numerous times during the trial, including when the jury reached the verdict in July, and to the best of his knowledge, it was still in the building.

Roger Estabrook was escorted out of the courtroom by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputies. As of the press deadline, the incident was under investigation.

In early 2023, the case was transferred from the Gallatin County Attorney’s Office to the state’s Prosecution Services Bureau.

According to the original charging documents, the Gallatin County Dispatch received a report on January 15, 2022, of two people suffering from gunshot wounds in the area of 6th Ave. E. and E. Ash Street in Three Forks 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, deputies were informed a male named “Zac” might have been responsible for the shooting and identified three witnesses who were still at the scene.

A release from the Montana Attorney General’s Office states that at the trial, “prosecutors used testimony from over 25 different witnesses, and evidence including Norman’s clothes found in the bathtub, the double stacked pistol seized from the Norman residence linked to the wounds found on both victims and video from multiple locations to secure the verdict.”

Assistant Attorneys General Jordan Salo and Mike Gee prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office with support from the Bozeman Police Department and Special Response Team.

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