Trial begins for Kalispell man accused of killing wife
Bradley Jay Hillious is shown during his trial in Flathead County District Court in Kalispell on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Hillious is accused of killing his wife Amanda after first claiming that she fell down a flight of stairs on Dec. 15, 2020. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
| January 4, 2022 12:00 PM
A jury trial for a Kalispell man accused of brutally killing his wife in 2020 got underway this week at the Flathead County District Court.
Bradley Jay Hillious, 35, is facing one charge of deliberate homicide.
A jury panel of 14 was accepted for the case Monday and the trial began in earnest Tuesday. It is slated to take place over the next two weeks in front of Judge Robert Allison.
Flathead County Sheriff's Office investigators allege Hillious beat and strangled his wife, Amanda, before throwing her down a flight of stairs 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.
Hillious posted bail in November after spending nearly a year in the county detention center.
He is represented by attorneys Jami L. Rebsom and Suzanne Marshall.
The state is represented by prosecution attorney Travis R. Ahner, along with deputy county attorney John Donovan, and Richard Schuster also representing the state.
The trial was originally set to begin in July 2021, but was pushed back multiple times.
Hillious faces a maximum term of 100 years in the Montana State Prison.
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 lying at the bottom of the stairs, according to court documents.
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 and dismissed May 7 when both Bradley and Amanda agreed to reconcile.
Another court document indicated Bradley Hillious filed for divorce on April 21, but the matter was dropped in May when the protection order was dismissed.
ON DEC. 17, forensic interviews were conducted with two of Amanda Hillious' children.
One of her sons said she woke him on 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.