BILLINGS - A man accused of fatally shooting the driver of a vehicle from the back seat was charged Monday in Yellowstone County District Court.
Branden Kord Rockabove, 23, was arraigned on a charge of deliberate homicide during a court appearance by video from the Montana State Prison. A judge entered a plea of not guilty on Rockabove's behalf.
Rockabove is accused of fatally shooting 31-year-old Walker Takeshorse as Takeshorse was driving in the 200 block of South 29th Street shortly before midnight on Nov. 5, 2022. Prosecutors said in court records the two men were escapees from a state correctional facility in Great Falls.
The shooting happened as Rockabove was riding in the right rear passenger seat of a Jeep Compass with Takeshorse driving and three other people in the vehicle. Witnesses said the two men had been arguing when Rockabove pulled out a shotgun and shot Takeshorse in the neck, prosecutors allege in court records.
The Jeep crashed into a parked car and everyone inside the vehicle fled the immediate scene. Two of the witnesses were found nearby and all three other passengers eventually provided information identifying Rockabove as the suspect.
Prosecutors said evidence identifying Rockabove was found inside the Jeep, including his Montana ID card, a recent pay stub, and a Montana Department of Corrections identification card.
Rockabove is being held in the state prison on an escape charge. He was previously convicted in Yellowstone County of felony assault with a weapon for an incident in 2018, according to state prison records.