On Tuesday morning Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan told NBC Montana he doesn’t plan to file charges in the shooting death of 40-year old Daniel Fredenberg. Later in the day, Corrigan released a five page letter to the Kalispell Police Department explaining why 24-year old Brice Harper won't be charged with murder.
In the letter, Corrigan says he's not filing charges partly because of the Castle Doctrine, a law that allows someone to use force if they think they're going to be assaulted. Corrigan also points to a "Stand your Ground" statute that he says meant Brice was not obligated to call law enforcement or attempt to flee before using force.
In the letter, Corrigan writes that Dan's wife, Heather, admitted she had an affair with Harper, and that after the shooting incident she told a detective, "It's all my fault." The document continues with Heather saying she spotted Dan following her as she drove with Harper. From there, Corrigan writes that Heather told officers she dropped Harper off at his house and told him to close the garage door.
Investigators say Harper told them he retrieved a pistol from his house and waited in a doorway. Officials report Heather saw Fredenberg walk into the garage yelling, but Fredenberg's family isn't buying any claims that Harper was in real danger.
Corrigan writes in his letter that the first shot Harper fired hit Fredenberg in the midsection. Investigators say Harper said Fredenberg kept moving at him, so he shot two more times.
Corrigan's letter ends with him saying he knows the Fredenberg family thinks the case should go to trail, but he can't ethically charge murder if he doesn't think the evidence and law will back it all up.
On Tuesday Corrigan declined an interview with NBC Montana, saying he preferred to answer media questions at a press conference on Wednesday morning.
NBC Montana caught up with Daniel’s aunt and uncle on Tuesday.
“We all just feel like it’s a bad dream,” explained Daniel’s aunt Mary Olson. “You just can’t get away from it. There’s something every minute of every day that reminds you of it.”
Mary’s husband Hank, in agreement with Mary, says the case should have gone to trial.
“If the guy would have come out and punched him in the nose or something I can live with that, but to deliberately shoot him three times…no,” said Hank Olson.