NewsCrime and Courts


Michael DeFrance pleads not guilty to new firearms charges in Missoula

Russell Smith Couthouse
Posted at 3:35 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 17:35:46-05

MISSOULA — The former boyfriend of Jermain Charlo — the Dixon Agency woman who's been missing for more than three years — has pleaded not guilty to new firearms charges that are related to a 2013 assault involving Charlo.

Michael DeFrance appeared in District Court in Missoula on Thursday for those new charges which include a false statement during a firearms transaction and being a prohibited person in possession of firearms and ammunition. DeFrance was released on conditions after entering a not guilty plea.

The first firearms charges against him were filed in late July, but the Oct. 4 trial date for those charges was vacated in September. DeFrance has filed motions in the case to dismiss those charges.

Court documents show DeFrance plead guilty to a Partner or Family Member Assault (PFMA) involving Charlo in Sanders County in 2013. However, authorities have not brought forward any charges connecting DeFrance to Charlo's disappearance.

Charlo went missing from downtown Missoula in June of 2018 and her disappearance has garnered nationwide attention and is the subject of Connie Walker's podcast, "Stolen: The Search for Jermain Charlo."