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Coroner's jury clears officer in Worden shooting

By Associated Press
Published On: Nov 26 2013 07:38:04 AM MST

A coroner's jury deliberated for about 10 minutes Monday before finding a Yellowstone County sheriff's deputy was justified in shooting a Worden bar owner who had reportedly killed his former girlfriend.
Jurors determined now former Deputy Martin Stuart committed justifiable homicide when he shot 49-year-old Thomas Hilger early on May 24.
Officers stopped Hilger's pickup truck after receiving a report that he killed 22-year-old Erica Yurian. Dash cam video showed Hilger stepped out of his truck, fired a shot and Stuart responded by firing two shots.
One shot hit Hilger's spine. He refused medical treatment and died about 12 hours later at a Billings hospital.
Testimony at the inquest indicated Hilger acknowledged to at least one deputy that he shot Yurian. Her body was found in the tool box of his pickup truck.