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The Latest: Man pleads guilty in hunting partner’s death

September 4, 2019
In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, photo, Gregg Trude, right, and defense attorney Greg Jackson listen to testimony during Trude's negligent homicide trial in the shooting death of Dr. Eugene "Buzz" Walton, before Judge Mike McMahon in the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)
In this Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, photo, Gregg Trude, right, and defense attorney Greg Jackson listen to testimony during Trude's negligent homicide trial in the shooting death of Dr. Eugene "Buzz" Walton, before Judge Mike McMahon in the Lewis and Clark County Courthouse. (Thom Bridge/Independent Record via AP)

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on the negligent homicide trial of a Helena man (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

A former Montana firearms safety instructor has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in last year’s shooting death of his hunting partner in Helena.

Gregg Trude’s unexpected change of plea on Wednesday came during his trial over the death of Dr. Eugene “Buzz” Walton.

Trude had been charged with negligent homicide and evidence tampering.

Walton died from a gunshot wound to his leg caused by Trude’s rifle discharging in a parking lot after the two men returned from a hunting trip in October.

Prosecutors say Trude left the rifle loaded and was responsible for it firing. Trude previously said he did not touch or move the rifle, and that it went off while Walton was removing rifles from the backseat of a truck.

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9:40 a.m.

A trial is underway for a former Montana firearms safety instructor charged in the shooting death of his hunting partner in Helena last year.

Gregg Trude has pleaded not guilty to charges of negligent homicide and tampering with evidence in the October 2018 death of Dr. Eugene “Buzz” Walton.

Walton died from a gunshot wound to his leg caused by Trude’s rifle discharging in a parking lot after the two men returned from a hunting trip.

Prosecutors say Trude left the rifle loaded and was responsible for it firing. Trude says Walton was removing the rifles from the backseat of a truck when one of them went off.

District Judge Michael McMahon is presiding over the bench trial that began on Tuesday.

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