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Worker charged with homicide in death of Billings group-home resident

Posted at 2:31 PM, Mar 07, 2024

BILLINGS - A 19-year-old Billings group-home worker is facing one charge of deliberate homicide related to the death of a 37-year-old disabled resident in February, Billings police said Thursday.

Dante Garriott was initially arrested and charged on Feb. 5 with aggravated assault following an incident with the male resident at a home on the 200 block of Westchester Square North, according to a news release from Billings Police Lt. Matt Lennick.

According to charging documents, another staff member allegedly saw Garriot stomp on the resident three times while he was on the ground on Feb. 4. The resident weighed 108 pounds, was nonverbal and had the cognitive abilities of a 2- or 3-year-old, according to charging documents.

The victim was taken to the hospital on the evening of Feb. 4 after other staff members noticed he was not breathing normally, his skin was discolored and he was lethargic, according to charging documents.

Police arrived at the home run by Residential Support Services on Feb. 5 to interview Garriott, who initially denied knowing anything about the resident's injuries.

He eventually told officers he was trying to walk the victim to his room, but he kept falling, so he kicked him on his side. Garriott said he also punched the victim once in the body and in the face, according to charging documents.

At Billings Clinic, doctors determined the victims had multiple broken ribs, a lacerated liver, a lacerated spleen, and a brain bleed. Significant bruising covered the left side of his body, and police believed his injuries to be life-threatening.

Garriott was charged with aggravated assault on Feb. 6.

The victim died Feb. 16, and investigators determined the injuries he suffered during the assault contributed to his death, according to Lennick.

Cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma, with a pre-existing health condition as a contributing factor, according to charging documents.

The Yellowstone County Attorney's Office amended the charge to deliberate homicide on Feb. 23. Garriott appeared in court on that charge Thursday.

Garriott was not listed Thursday afternoon on the Yellowstone County jail roster.