HELENA — Corey Michael Kelly, accused of killing Mark Luther in the Helena valley last week, made his first appearance in Lewis & Clark County Justice Court on Monday.
Kelly, 31 years old, has been charged with deliberate homicide for the death of Luther on Friday, November 20.
According to documents filed with the court, Kelly was at Luther’s residence early Friday morning along with several other people.
During the evening Luther had gotten a cut by his eye and asked that one of the individuals present cauterize the wound. Law enforcement found a video showing a scythe being used to cauterize the wound. Detectives say Kelly can be seen in the recording.
After the cauterizing incident, witnesses told detectives Luther and Kelly got into an argument, with Luther allegedly throwing a pistol down the hallway.
Luther then presented several loaded firearms and told Kelly to pick one. Witnesses told law enforcement Luther made several comments to them and Kelly that the firearms were loaded.
Kelly allegedly picked up one of the firearms described as a carbine 9mm, or military style M4. Luther then turned to Kelly and raised his hands, and at that point Kelly allegedly shot Luther in the chest.
Kelly is then accused of leaving the residence and striking two other vehicles with his vehicle while leaving. Kelly’s vehicle was found at his home with damage, but Kelly was not at the residence. He was found by authorities just before 10 p.m. Friday and taken into custody without incident.
Judge Michael Swingley set Kelly’s bond be set at $250,000. Kelly is expected to enter his plea in District Court on Tuesday December 15. Should he manage to post bail, it’s anticipated he’ll need to wear a GPS tracking device upon release.
Swingley's courtroom was packed with family and friends of Luther on Monday, including Luther's parents.
"I’m really glad that the judge is keeping him incarcerated until the trial date and hopefully he’ll get the sentence he deserves," said Dave Luther.
The Luther family also wanted to thank the community for the outpouring of support they've received since losing their son.
"Thank you so much. You truly make us know we're loved and shown the love you had for our son Mark," said LoriAnn Luther. "He loved every one of you."
Editor's note: This article has been updated following Corey Kelly's appearance in Justice Court on Monday Nov. 23.