Brice Harper sat quietly in a Flathead courtroom on Wednesday, as a judge weighed whether to keep the restraining order Daniel Fredenberg’s wife had filed against him. The hearing was the first time 24-year-old Harper sat before a Flathead judge since the September 22 shooting incident that left 40-year-old Daniel Fredenberg dead.
Investigators say Harper shot Fredenberg in Harper’s garage, and the two did have a prior confrontation. Investigators also say Daniel’s wife, Heather Fredenberg, told authorities she “pretty much had an affair” with Harper.
Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan decided not to file charges against Harper, citing Montana’s “castle doctrine” and “stand your ground” self-defense laws.
The restraining order Heather Fredenberg filed against Harper after the shooting came to an end on Wednesday.
“I do not find that there is basis for me to believe that you have been the victim of stalking, and that you are at reasonable apprehension of bodily injury,” said Judge David Ortley, as he explained to Fredenberg why he revoked the restraining order against Harper.
In her initial request for protection, Fredenberg said Harper claimed to have guns and said he wasn’t afraid to use them.
“I fear for my life and especially with the previous threats that he made to Dan before, and I never did take him seriously, and then he did it,” said Heather Fredenberg.
The temporary restraining order granted in September made it illegal for Harper to have guns, but after Wednesday’s hearing, he could go pick them up.
“Justice for Dan, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Ron Fredenberg, Daniel’s father. “We want a judge and jury to decide.”
Harper didn’t answer questions, and when NBC Montana followed him outside the courtroom, he and his attorneys remained tight-lipped.
Daniel Fredenberg’s family members say they aren’t giving up. They say they’re considering a civil action of some kind, and they hope this isn’t the last day Brice Harper will sit before a judge.