NewsCrime and Courts


Attorney removed from Craft murder case; trial will be rescheduled

Posted at 3:37 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-05 18:24:37-04

GREAT FALLS – Vince Van Der Hagen, the defense attorney for Brandon Craft, who is charged with killing Adam Petzack in Great Falls, has been removed from the case.

Craft was charged with deliberate homicide for the 2016 death of Petzack.

On Tuesday, Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki was informed that a former cellmate of Craft’s had information about the case.

“The inmate told detectives that Mr. Craft confessed to committing the crime to the inmate,” Racki said.

The next day, Van Der Hagen informed Racki that he represents both men in their respective cases.

Van Der Hagen said he asked for Thursday’s status hearing due to the situation.

Judge Elizabeth Best said, “The very issues you have identified, Mr. Van Der Hagen, and with that related to impeaching your own client with attorney-client privilege information and having to make decisions to whether or not to throw your punches in cross-examining him. I think it implicates due process, it implicates the confrontation clause, and it implicates many other Constitutional rights that we cannot circumvent.”

Best ordered that Van Der Hagen would be removed from both cases.

Best went onto say no one is at fault but this is in the best interest of the clients.

She also vacated Craft’s trial that had been scheduled for November 7th, and will reset the trial date next week.

Reporting by Margaret DeMarco for MTN News

(APRIL 2017)
Bail for Brandon Craft, accused of murdering Adam Petzack and stealing his veterans benefits, will remain at one million dollars. On Monday, Craft asked for a bail reduction, which was denied. He also asked for a reduction in January.

Craft is charged with murdering disabled Army veteran Adam Petzack. Petzack rented a small out-building from Craft on Gore Hill.

Craft told investigators that he killed Petzack after witnessing him performing an inappropriate sex act near his young daughter; detectives have testified that there was no evidence of that.

Prosecutors say after Craft murdered Petzack, he hid his body and started a bank account to steal Petzack’s veteran’s benefits. They say Craft and his family moved to Washington shortly after they were questioned by police.

Craft was arrested in August and prosecutors say that since he’s been in jail, Craft has been trying to influence witnesses testimony.