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Court docs detail surveillance video of fatal shooting at Billings campground

chavez, kristy.JPG
Posted at 4:56 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 18:56:38-04

Nearly one month after a crime spree that ended with a Billings West End standoff between law enforcement and a murder suspect, the alleged female accomplice will enter her plea to a charge of felony deliberate homicide by accountability Tuesday morning in Yellowstone County District Court.

In addition, more details surrounding that deadly day were released Thursday in court documents filed against Kristy Lynn Chavez, 31.

Chavez stands accused of assisting in the murder of 33-year-old Dennis Gresham in the early morning hours of April 23 at the Yellowstone River Campground in south Billings.

Court documents detail more of the crime spree that day, which ended with Chavez in custody and suspect Michael McClure, 27, dead after he ran from authorities, broke into a West End home, and then shot himself, ending a nine-hour standoff with police.

The information filed goes into more detail about how Chavez and McClure allegedly approached the victim’s van around 5:45 a.m. Prosecutors specifically revealed that multiple cameras in the campground captured the events.

Detectives say the two suspects drove up to the campground entrance around 5:45 a.m., stopped the car they were driving, got out and started walking into the campground arm-in-arm.

About five minutes later, video shows that Chavez approached the van on the driver’s side, as McClure walked off by himself and stood several feet away. After McClure is seen trying to open the van door, she knocked on the window.

Detectives say about 90 seconds later, McClure joined Chavez at the driver’s door for about 45 seconds, and they then walked a few feet away together.

Moments later, Chavez returned to the driver’s door by herself, as McClure slowly began to walk around to the passenger side of the van near the cargo doors that open in the middle.

Chavez then walked around the van to join McClure. About one minute later, someone is observed falling to the ground near the van’s rear bumper.

The person got up and ran back to the passenger side of the van, as the van began to drive forward. The van then briefly stopped as a flash was seen coming from the inside of the vehicle.

Investigators say Chavez later admitted to driving the van away from the scene, and hearing five gunshots before McClure took the wheel. She said it appeared Gresham was dead.

The two, with a body in the van, then drove to Walmart in Laurel, and then parked the van at Woods Power Grip in Laurel and covered it with a tarp.

Just after noon, a Laurel police officer approached the suspicious vehicle.

He said McClure jumped out of the van, pulled the blankets and tarp off the van, jumped back in and drove off, despite warnings to stop.

From there, a pursuit ensued involving multiple law enforcement agencies, until the van crashed near the 1900 block of 43rd Street West.

At that point, officers say both suspects jumped out of the van and ran.

Soon after, Chavez was stopped by Montana Highway Patrol troopers. When she refused to surrender and turned to walk away, she was tased and apprehended.

McClure ran to a nearby neighborhood and finally broke into a home where the standoff ensued.

When talking with police after her arrest, Chavez denied killing Gresham, and when asked about other blunt force injuries the victim sustained, she said they likely happened during the altercation with Gresham at the campground.