BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Two teenagers were charged as adults after investigators say they drove after a Rocky Mountain College student-athlete who was killed last week by a bullet that went through his driver’s side window near campus.
A 16-year-old male was charged Friday with deliberate homicide in the Oct. 28 shooting of Chandler Stalcup, 18, of Crystal River, Florida. Stalcup was a freshman on the NAIA school's football team. A 17-year-old male was charged with deliberate homicide by accountability as the driver of the car, authorities said.
The teens pleaded not guilty during their arraignment hearings on Friday. The Associated Press is not identifying the defendants because they are minors.
Their cases have been assigned to the Office of Public Defender, but specific attorneys have not been assigned, court officials said. Public defender Meagan Bailey appeared in court with the defendants on Friday. The public defender's office declined to comment on the case.
Bail is set at $1.5 million for the 16-year-old and $1 million for the 17-year-old.
Stalcup responded to a friend's call for a ride home from a house party at about 3 a.m. Saturday after a fight broke out, court records said. Stalcup arrived with three other people and they went looking for the friend who requested a ride.
Witnesses said an older black sedan drove up to Stalcup's group. Passengers in the sedan, who were wearing ski masks, asked where Stalcup and his passengers were from, court records said. The car started rolling forward and someone on the passenger side leaned out a window and fired several rounds from a firearm, charging documents state.
The 16-year-old told officers he fired about 14 shots in the air above a crowd of people in retaliation for the 17-year-old having been knocked out during a fight, court records said.
Stalcup and two others got in his car and drove away, and the 16-year-old said they circled the block until they found Stalcup's vehicle and began following it. Near campus, the sedan pulled up next to Stalcup's vehicle and the 16-year-old told investigators that he fired a shot through the driver's side window, court records said.
Police arrested the suspects about six hours after the shooting.
Stalcup died two days later when he was removed from life support after doctors harvested his organs for donation, the Yellowstone County Coroner's Office has said.
The 17-year-old acknowledged driving the car when the shots were fired outside the house party, while following Stalcup's vehicle and when he says the 16-year-old shot Stalcup, charging documents state.