Martin City man to plead guilty in April killing

December 27, 2018

A Martin City man accused of shooting another man in Hungry Horse in April has agreed to plead guilty to negligent homicide.

According to documents filed in Flathead District Court, James William Quen, 48, who was charged with one felony count of deliberate homicide, was set to go to trial beginning Jan. 7, 2019.

In the plea agreement, the Flathead County Attorney’s Office agreed to amend the charge of deliberate homicide to negligent homicide. It also agreed that if Quen pleaded guilty to the amended charge, the county would argue for a 10-year suspended sentence. If the court imposed a harsher sentence, Quen could withdraw his plea.

He originally faced a total of 12 to 110 years in the Montana State Prison on the deliberate homicide charge and because a gun was used.

Quen is scheduled to appear in court at 1:15 p.m. on Friday to formally enter his plea. The county attorney’s office said it would agree to Quen’s release at the time of his court appearance if the agreement is accepted by the court.

Quen has been jailed since April 26 for allegedly shooting Bradley Allen Winters, 33, from Hungry Horse, during a late-night argument April 25. When deputies arrived at the scene in Hungry Horse, Winters was on the ground with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest from a .38-caliber revolver, according to court records.

The brother of the victim said Quen arrived at the residence and a dispute arose over clothes and money. He said he heard the sound of a gun cocking and then multiple shots fired. The victim’s brother said Winters was hit and Quen then left the area. Flathead County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Quen at about 1 a.m. the next day.

He allegedly admitted to being in a dispute with the victim and his brother over money. According to the court documents, Quen also admitted that he pointed his revolver at a person and shot him, and understood that person to be Winters.

Quen was first defended by attorneys from the Montana Public Defender’s Office before a conflict developed in representing him. They were excused from the case and Brian C. Smith, an attorney from Missoula, was assigned to Quen’s case Oct. 4.

Quen indicated he would present a self-defense case May 31.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 406-758-4441 or sshindledecker@dailyinterlake.com

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