by William Skink
A drug deal gone bad; a stabbing that resulted in death; a murder? No, said the Missoula County Attorney’s office, we aren’t going to charge the killer with murder:
After an intensive investigation, the Missoula County Attorney’s Office has decided not to charge a Missoula man with homicide after a ‘drug rip’ went bad in the restroom of a local restaurant where a Hamilton area man was stabbed and eventually died of his wounds.
“Our responsibility is to get to the truth,” said Acting Chief Colyer.
Why not a murder charge? Because so many investigators responded and they worked really hard in the first 24 hours doing their job determining sometimes during a drug rip you just gotta stab the motherfucker:
“An initial perimeter was set by our patrol team and they used a police dog in an attempt to locate the suspect,” he said. “Really, within 20 minutes of the initial call we had activated an investigative team from our detective division. We sent four investigators, a supervisor and a crime scene technician to the scene and began what was a non-stop intensive investigation. We notified the county attorney’s office very early in the investigation. We had investigators working through the majority of January 2, and in about 15 hours we had identified and interviewed all the people involved. We made a lot of progress in the first 24 hours and felt we had a good grasp of the facts at that point.”
Colyer said their investigation determined whether or not a charge of homicide would be filed.
“We talked through the legal requirements with the county attorney and came to the decision that the suspect, Joshua Paniagua, was eventually charged with some other offenses but would not be charged with a homicide related offense, due to his right to use force to defend himself,” he said.
I’m sure peddlers of illegal substances are glad to know they have the right to lethally stab their customers when a meth for weed deals goes south.
Back in January, acting police chief Mike Colyer was pretty proud about how quickly his investigators determined the right of drug dealers to stab their customers. Here is how the Missoulian article concludes:
Colyer said he was proud Tuesday of the joint effort by police and prosecutors, whose early involvement in the investigation kept the case on track toward the appropriate charges.
“That helps keep this thing moving along,” Colyer said. “They’re right there, shoulder-to-shoulder, able to view the evidence with us. …From my perspective, we’re sorry that the Mousso family has lost someone, and we can’t bring that back. But what I am proud of and grateful for is all the work that went into this so quickly to get some answers.”
Doesn’t this sound nice? Cops and lawyers working so well with each other, shoulder-to-shoulder figuring out all the answers. Yet, for some strange reason, the Mousso family is unhappy with how authorities gave this drug dealer a license to kill, and today NBC Montana is reporting that top-dog County Attorney, Kirsten Pabst, is running to the AG for cover:
We’ve learned new information about a Missoula stabbing death.
18-year old Benjamin Mousso’s mom and close family friends launched their own investigation last January after prosecutors decided the man who killed him did it in self-defense.
They thought things didn’t add up and they came to us for help.
Now just days after we started asking questions, Missoula County’s prosecutor asked the state’s top attorney’s office to review the case.
In an email, Kirsten Pabst writes while her office conducted an “exhaustive review” of the investigative file and compared the case to state law, Mousso’s family is dissatisfied with the decision. She requested the Montana Attorney General’s office assign a review to its Prosecutorial Services Bureau.
This is big, and not just for the Mousso family. There are other people out there trying to understand how the County Attorney’s office perceives self defense and the justifiable use of force.