On Homicide Investigations And Homicide Trials In Montana (Not Idaho)

by Travis Mateer

While immense focus from arm-chair investigators is fixated on Moscow, Idaho, a violent death of an elderly woman in Clinton, Montana isn’t getting any attention at all, nor the investigating agency (Missoula County Sheriff’s Office) any criticism. Let’s fix that.

The death of 88 year old Delphine Farmer was labeled a homicide all the way back on September 28th, 2022, but so far no suspects have been identified or arrested. At least, not that the public has been told about. But that may have changed with the arrest of Charles Grabert after a violent incident at the Johnson Street shelter last week. From the link:

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Missoula police responded to the Johnson Street shelter for calls reporting someone was threatening people with a gun at the facility. An employee told law enforcement the suspect was wearing a red bandanna and was pointing a handgun at residents while making threats, according to charging documents.

Another witness said the suspect threatened to kill him while the gun was pointed.

Later in the article it’s reported that Grabert got another charge for intimidation. Note the location (emphasis mine):

Officers located, arrested and identified Grabert. He said he wanted an attorney and was not questioned by police, charging documents stated. No weapon was found on Grabert’s person or outside of the car. Authorities applied for a search warrant to look through the car. Charging documents didn’t mention if the warrant returned a gun.

Grabert was also charged on Friday with felony intimidation stemming from an October incident in Clinton.

The extra charge, and the very high bond, is making me think that Grabert has been a very bad violent offender, but violent enough to end the life of an elderly woman?

While that investigation is presumably moving forward with NO THREAT TO THE PUBLIC (right, MCSO?), the Missoula County Attorney’s Office is preparing to prosecute a DIFFERENT Charles for brutally beating to death a well-known homeless man, Lee Nelson, in November of 2020. I knew Lee Nelson well from my time at the shelter, and I plan on attending the trial to provide coverage you won’t get anywhere else.

To help toward those efforts, please consider making a donation to my about page. Any little bit helps.

As the days of darkness move toward solstice, I’m making moves and thinking hard about 2023 opportunities. While books and debris are strewn all around me, I can see something emerging on the other side and I’m excited to share what I find out, even if it means deconstructing the idea of a “Gonzo” journalist.

So stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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