MISSOULA - A federal fugitive who led numerous multiple law enforcement officers on a chase through East Missoula -- keeping residents and students locked in their homes and schools earlier this week -- is expected to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
William "Billy" Newhoff faces numerous felony charges for that manhunt Tuesday that lasted about five hours. Those charges include burglary, fleeing from peace officer, reckless driving, criminal endangerment and criminal mischief and theft.
It all started just after 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday when the US Marshals and deputies tried to arrest Newhoff who was wanted on an outstanding federal warrant for absconding.
Newhoff fled from Aspen Motel in East Missoula, stole a vehicle leading authorities on a brief chase, damaging a house on Dakota Street before crashing the truck into a tree on Speedway.
Newhoff then led authorities on a nearly five-hour manhunt, which forced Missoula College and Bonner School to lock their doors and keep students inside.
An alert was issued by Missoula 911 for residents in the East Missoula area to lock their doors and to stay in their homes until authorities searched for the armed fugitive.
After an extensive door to door search, including Missoula Sheriff K-9 unit, Newhoff was found just after 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday hiding in a mobile home on Speedway Avenue.
Newhoff told authorities he “wanted to die by cop” but could not find the courage to follow through.
In court documents, when authorities asked the defendant why he caused so much damage to property and put so many lives in danger Tuesday, he responded that he was facing life in prison and figured “it would be better to die.”
He's being held on a $200,000 bond. Newhoff is expected to appear in Missoula Justice Court. We will have more info on the 5:30 and 10:00 news.