Charges dropped against 3 in Lake County killing

Missoula, Montana (AP) July 2011

Prosecutors in Lake County have dismissed charges against three men in the July 2005 death of a former Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal chairman after the first man convicted in the killing changed his story.

Clifford Old Horn was convicted of deliberate homicide in the death of 73-year-old Harold Mitchell Jr., whose body was found in a burned trailer.

Old Horn confessed to his part in the crime in 2008 and implicated the other three.

However, during his trial this summer, Old Horn changed his story. Prosecutors argued he knew details from the crime scene that were not made public.

The Missoulian reports part of the state’s case against Nathan Ross, Kyle Brown and Nigel Ernst is based on Old Horn’s confession. The charges could be re-filed if more evidence is discovered.