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Zachary Norman found guilty on 1 deliberate homicide count, not guilty on other

zachary norman bench trial.jpg
Posted at 10:34 AM, Apr 25, 2024

(Updated 4:00 p.m., 04/25/2024)

BOZEMAN — It’s a case MTN News has followed since the beginning—two brothers shot to death in Three Forks in 2022. At the Law and Justice Center in Bozeman on Thursday, District Court Judge John Brown found 25-year-old Zachary Norman guilty of one of the homicide charges.

Brothers Brendan and Chase Estabrook were gunned down in the street off 6th and Ash in Three Forks in the early morning hours of Jan. 15, 2022.

Norman, the alleged gunman, faced a trial in July 2023 that resulted in a partial verdict.

The jury found Norman guilty of tampering with or fabricating evidence but was hung on the two charges of deliberate homicide. Lawyers for Norman claimed the shooting was in self-defense.

On the night of Jan. 14, 2022, Norman had been drinking at the Sacajawea Inn and Teasers. He ended up at the Frontier Bar in Three Forks. That’s where Brendan, Chase, and Zac Norman’s story intersect. Security footage from that night shows Norman so drunk he almost fell out of his chair.

They ended up at a house party in town. Norman was asked to leave the party; he refused, and that’s when a fight broke out.

Someone heard one brother say, “No, no, no” before Brendan was shot eight times. Chase took bullets to his hand, wrist, and neck, severing his jugular. Chase staggered five or six feet to where his brother lay, put his left hand on his brother, and died.

A bench trial retrying Norman for killing the two brothers ended on Thursday. Judge John Brown found Norman guilty of deliberate homicide for the death of Chase Estabrook but not guilty for the death of his brother Brendan.

I spoke with Jordan Salo, one of the prosecutors on the case, who told me because Norman and Brendan were in a physical altercation when the gun came out, she believes the judge sided with the defense on that count, finding him not guilty.

Chase and Brendan’s mother, Kim Finn, shared a statement after the retrial saying she is happy with how the trial went, disappointed they didn’t get two guilty verdicts for her boys, but pleased that justice is being served.

She went on to thank all the detectives and prosecution for a job well done, and she respects Judge Brown’s decision.

Looking toward the future, Kim says she will keep her sons' memories alive and that they’ll always be a part of her and never be forgotten.

Norman’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 17, 2024.