Posted: Sep 10, 2012 6:36 PM by Irina Cates - KPAX News
Updated: Sep 10, 2012 9:31 PM
MISSOULA- Prosecutors say the two men reportedly involved in last Friday's shooting robbery at an East Missoula gas station both have criminal records.
They say Preston James Hanna has an extensive criminal record out of Utah, which includes being a convicted sex offender. The alleged shooter, Christopher Lee Burch, was supposed to be sentenced for felony theft next week.
Burch is charged with attempted deliberate homicide and robbery, while Hanna is charged for being his accomplice.
"Mr. Hanna didn't enter the store, but he provided the weapon that was used," says Deputy Missoula County Attorney Shaun Donovan.
Police say around 3 a.m. Friday at the Ole's gas station in East Missoula, Burch walked into the gas station with a rifle and demanded money from the store clerk. The clerk told him "no" and that's when Burch allegedly shot him.
"This was an absolutely unnecessary attack that was not even really motivated by the robbery. The defendant, according to the evidence that's been accumulated, went into the store, had a one sentence conversation with the victim and then shot him. He didn't make any effort to take anything," said Donovan.
The clerk identified the shooter as Burch and told investigators he recognized his voice because they used to hang out. When detectives went to Burch's house, he told them Hanna was the shooter, but investigators say Hanna was the getaway driver.
"He drove to the store, watched his friend, Mr. Burch, get out of the car dressed all in black with his face covered and carrying his rifle and then rush out minutes later and drove him away," Donovan said.
The judge set bail for both men at $500,000.
The victim underwent surgery over the weekend at St. Patrick Hospital, but the hospital told us on Monday that the victim is no longer there.