Trial begins for man accused of driving getaway car in East Missoula shooting


MISSOULA, Mont. - Nine months after a Missoula-area convenience store clerk was shot and left for dead, he took the stand in the trial of the man who drove the alleged get away car.

The shooting happened in September, 2012.

Preston Hanna is accused of driving away from the East Missoula Ole's after Christopher Burch allegedly shot an employee there, and left him critically injured.

Then, Hanna cut a deal with prosecutors. But last month he backed out of the deal when the judge wouldn't agree to give him 20 years in prison, with 15 suspended.

If convicted, Hanna could face a 40-year sentence.

The defense told the jury Hanna and his friend Christopher Burch had been drinking heavily in the early morning hours of September 7, when they made plans to go "plinking," or shooting tin cans.

But first, lawyers said they decided to steal some beer.

Lawyers said Hanna didn't count on Adam Gallegos, the clerk at Ole's, getting shot.

They said Hanna was waiting in the car when Christopher Burch ran out of Ole's yelling, "drive, drive, drive...I shot him." They said all Hanna heard was "drive."

Gallegos, who nearly died from the shooting was the first to take the stand. He just had his gall bladder removed. He had a stroke after being shot.

He recounted those early morning hours of September 7.

"I turned my back and he pulled up and shot me," Gallegos told the court. "Where did he shoot you?" asked the prosecutor. "In the shoulder, said Gallegos, "it ricocheted off my scapula and took out my right lung."

Gallegos told jurors that a couple weeks before he was shot, Preston Hanna came in with another man and stole beer.

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