NewsCrime and Courts


Man accused of Missoula murder pleads not guilty

Christopher Lance Newrider
Posted at 2:49 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-16 00:34:00-05

MISSOULA — Christopher Lance Newrider of Missoula, charged with shooting a man in the head in an apartment complex parking lot, says he's not guilty.

Newrider has been charged with one count of deliberate homicide for the shooting death of 33-year-old Sundance Hernandez.

Newrider appeared before Missoula District Judge Robert Deschamps for his arraignment Tuesday afternoon and entered a not guilty plea to a charge of deliberate homicide.

Court documents detail what happened the day of the fatal shooting on December 8 in the parking lot of the Creekside apartments on East Broadway.

On the day of the shooting Hernandez, Newrider's fiancée's dad, and another woman went to the Creekside Apartments where Newrider was living to bring over televisions that they were keeping for a friend.

According to the charging documents, Newrider's fiancée said he woke her up saying he had to go outside where she assumed, he was meeting with her father.

She told police that Newrider was going to meet her dad because he had several televisions that Newrider's friend was holding.

Witnesses on the scene told police that Newrider was waiting in the parking lot when Hernandez got out of the vehicle. They then told police they heard a "pop".

Witnesses at the apartment complex said they saw Hernandez go down and Newrider running from the scene.

The fiancée's father told police he knew Sundance and Newrider while serving time in prison, saying the victim had a tough reputation but did not think Newrider and Sundance had any unsettled debts to his knowledge.

Police found one 22 caliber shell casing at the scene. During the autopsy, the state medical examiner located a 22-caliber bullet in Hernandez's skull.

The medical examiner stated Hernandez did not have any marks on his hands which would indicate a fight.

Newrider's attorney requested that he be transported to Powell County -- where Newrider faces several pending charges – during Tuesday’s hearing.

The prosecution and Judge Deschamps agreed, but now the Missoula and Powell jails need to figure out transportation -- and if Powell County will accept Newrider since he is involved in a high-profile case.

Newrider's next court appearance has been set for Feb. 16. He remains behind bars in the Missoula jail on a $1 million bond.