Sunday, September 26, 2021
77.0°F

Murder trial will remain in Flathead County

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
Daily Inter Lake | July 30, 2021 12:00 AM

The trial of a Kalispell man accused of murdering his wife in December 2020 will remain in Flathead County.

Bradley Jay Hillious, 34, is facing one charge of deliberate homicide. Flathead County Sheriff's Office investigators say Hillious beat and strangled his wife, Amanda, during a fight inside their home on Dec. 15, 2020. Amanda Hillious, a mother of four, died four days later.

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

In a court document filed May 28 by attorney Jami Rebsom, who is representing Hillious, she argued media coverage of the case and social media posts would make it impossible for him to receive a fair trial.

Rebsom also argued in another filing on May 26 that statements Hillious made to investigators on Dec. 15 in his home should be suppressed because they were a violation of his right against self-incrimination and his right to counsel.

Flathead County District Court Judge Robert Allison denied both motions on Wednesday.

HILLIOUS' TRIAL is scheduled to begin Oct. 12. It was originally set for July 26, but was pushed back so both sides could speak with witnesses and analyze evidence.

In March, Rebsom also sought dismissal of the case on the basis that Hillious' due-process rights had been violated. In her argument, she said an independent investigation of his wife's remains couldn't be done because state officials had released her body on Dec. 21 after an autopsy was performed at the State Crime Lab the previous day.

Amanda Hillious was cremated and Rebsom argued she had died due to an accidental fall due to other medical issues. She also argued her death may have been caused by first responders who improperly used a device designed to aid resuscitation.

But according to court documents, Bradley Hillious authorized the cremation of Amanda's remains on Dec. 23. She was cremated on Dec. 24, the same day charges were filed against the defendant.

Ultimately, Allison denied the dismissal of the murder charge in May because Hillious had authorized the cremation before any murder charge had been filed.

AN INVESTIGATION by sheriff's deputies began Dec. 15 when they answered a 911 call. When deputies arrived, Bradley Hillious' father, Scott, directed them inside the home where Amanda was lying on the floor.

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

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

Detectives spoke to Bradley Hillious, who said 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."

He said he began performing CPR on his wife. 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 Hillious requested a protection order on April 17 against Bradley and Scott, her father-in-law. The order was granted April 27. The order was dismissed May 7 when both Bradley and Amanda agreed to reconcile.

Another court document indicated Bradley Hillious filed for divorce April 21, but the matter was dropped in May when the protection order 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 Bradley and the 3-year-old child come out of the bedroom. Scott said he left his bedroom and saw Bradley standing near the base of the stairs. He said Bradley told him Amanda fell down the stairs. Scott also allegedly said Bradleywas upstairs the whole time until he was at the bottom of the stairs.

On Dec. 17, forensic interviews were conducted with two of Amanda Hillious' 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 mother scream, "Stop, Brad."

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

Later that day, Bradley Hillious called 911 and reported his father, Scott, had killed himself.

At Hillious' arraignment where he pleaded not guilty, Rebsom said, "There's a more likely suspect in this case."

She said she was referring to Scott Hillious as being a possible suspect in the case.

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

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