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Attorney alleges murder suspect's father killed wife

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Daily Inter Lake | January 7, 2021 2:30 PM

A defense attorney for a Kalispell man accused of murdering his wife last month in front of their children alleges there is a more likely suspect in the woman’s death — the suspect’s dead father.

Bradley Jay Hillious, 34, appeared with his attorney, Jami Rebsom, Thursday afternoon in Flathead County District Court. Hillious, who appeared on video from inside the county detention facility, pleaded not guilty to one felony count of deliberate homicide.

Rebsom also argued for a reduction in the $750,000 bond for which Hillious is being held. She wanted it to be reduced to $100,000. District Court Judge Robert Allison lowered the bail to $500,000.

“There’s a more likely suspect in this case,” Rebsom said.

Rebsom, who is based in Livingston, said after the hearing she was referring to Hillious’ father, Scott Hillious, who was inside the Willow Glen Trail home during the alleged crime.

Brad Hillious called 911 on Dec. 24 and reported his father, Scott, had killed himself. Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said investigators are still reviewing evidence to determine how Scott Hillious died.

Flathead County Attorney Travis Ahner argued against the bond reduction, citing Hillious’ lack of ties in Montana and how he allegedly gave conflicting statements about the incident as well as alleged lies about his relationship with another woman.

“It’s a significant crime and he has given multiple conflicting statements about the incident,” Ahner said. “He has no ties to Montana, other than his home and I’m not sure if Mr. Hillious has any other assets.”

Rebsom argued her client is not a flight risk and is gainfully employed with Wildfire Defense Systems. She also said he would be able to maintain his job.

“He (Hillious) has no criminal history, he’s never even had a speeding ticket,” Rebsom said. “This is not a crime against a stranger and he’s not a danger to society.”

ACCORDING TO the charging document, the alleged homicide occurred Dec. 15 at a residence south of Kalispell on Willow Glen Trail.

Brad’s wife, 33-year-old Amanda Hillious, a mother of four, died Saturday, Dec. 19.

On Dec. 22, Montana State Crime Lab pathologist Dr. Sunil Prashar determined Amanda died of blunt force injuries associated with neck compression.

An investigation by sheriff’s deputies began Dec. 15 when they answered a 911 call. When deputies arrived, Brad’s father, Scott Hillious, directed them inside the home where Amanda lay on the floor.

Brad reportedly was attempting to render aid to her. He said he heard someone scream, came out of his room and saw Amanda laying at the bottom of the stairs, according to the court document.

She was taken to the hospital. When detectives spoke to the emergency room physician, he said Amanda had several injuries, including a cut on her head, a lacerated liver and broken ribs.

Detectives spoke to Brad and alleged that after hearing the scream, he got dressed and saw his wife at the bottom of the stairs. He said he took his 3-year-old daughter into his bedroom and turned on a tablet for her because he “didn’t want her to see whatever was down there.”

Brad said he began performing CPR on Amanda. He also allegedly said he and Amanda had marital problems earlier in April and May, but they decided to reconcile. He said they hadn’t had any problems since their decision to get back together.

Other court documents indicate Amanda requested an order of protection April 17 against Brad and Scott, her father-in-law. It was issued April 27. The order was dismissed May 7 when both Brad and Amanda agreed to reconcile.

A second court document indicated Brad filed for divorce April 21, but the matter was dropped in May when the order of protection was dismissed.

Scott Hillious also spoke with investigators Dec. 15, and said he was in his bedroom when he woke to the sound of barking dogs and heard “ow” or “help.” He said he heard Brad and the 3-year-old child come out of the bedroom. Scott said he left his bedroom and saw Brad standing near the base of the stairs. He said Brad told him Amanda fell down the stairs. Scott also allegedly said Brad was upstairs the whole time until he was at the bottom of the stairs.

On Dec. 17, forensic interviews were conducted with two of Amanda’s children.

One of her sons said she woke him Dec. 15 to get ready for school. He said he was eating breakfast and could hear his mother and father arguing in their bedroom. He said his father dragged his mother off the couch and hit her with an open hand and a closed fist. The boy said his father told him to go to his room and the boy said he heard his father take his mother downstairs.

The boy also said he heard his mother tell his father to stop hitting her and he heard her scream “call 911.” He also said he heard her coming up the steps, but then it sounded as if she had fallen.

Another one of Amanda’s sons said he heard his mom scream “stop Brad.”

According to the charging document, on Dec. 24, a detective called Brad and asked him if he and his father, Scott, could come in for an interview. Brad allegedly said he wanted to speak with legal counsel and would call back later.

Brad Hillious faces a maximum term of 100 years in the Montana State Prison.

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