BUTTE — After more than a week of testimony in Butte, the state is getting ready to rest its case against Lloyd Barrus, the man accused of helping his son in the shooting death of Broadwater County Sheriff's deputy Mason Moore in 2017.
The jury in the deliberate homicide trial in Butte saw the firearms that prosecutors allege were used in the killing of Deputy Moore and in a shootout with law enforcement on the morning of May 16th, 2017.
During the seventh day of testimony, the state revealed the .308 semi-automatic rifle that it claims Lloyd Barrus’ son, Marshall, used to shoot and kill Deputy Moore. Lloyd Barrus is accused of driving his Suburban with his son Marshall as a passenger the morning of the deputy’s death.
Prosecutors allege Lloyd purposely instigated the deputy into a high-speed pursuit on Highway 287, where Marshall shot at the pursuing officer from the passenger seat and killed him near Three Forks.
This led to another long pursuit with law enforcement across the state that ended in a gun battle, where Lloyd Barrus surrendered, and Marshall was shot and later died.
Prosecutors also showed the jury the handgun Lloyd Barrus allegedly fired at police in the shootout before being taken into custody. A shotgun belonging to Marshall was also found at the scene of the shootout, along with many rounds of ammunition.
Prosecutors say on May 16, 2017, Deputy Moore was struck with a bullet while attempting to stop Barrus and his son Marshall near Three Forks on Highway 287.
Moore came to a stop a few miles south of the I-90 interchange. Lloyd Barrus is then accused of pulling up alongside Deputy Moore’s vehicle where his son fired a dozen more shots at the deputy.
Law enforcement pursued the two men for nearly 150 miles. The chase ended on Interstate 90 near Missoula. Marshall Barrus was killed in a shootout with officers.
Lloyd Barrus faces five charges – deliberate homicide by accountability, two counts of attempted deliberate homicide, assault on a peace officer and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon – in connection with the death of Moore and an ensuing chase and shootout with law enforcement officers.
Prosecutors had initially sought the death penalty for Barrus, but in June 2018 Judge Seeley ordered Barrus committed after he was found unfit to stand trial for a host of mental disorders, including persecutory type delusional disorder and mixed personality disorder. Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty a month later.
The State went back to court seeking to forcibly medicate Barrus to get him to a point where he was mentally fit to stand trial.
In May 2019, almost two years after Deputy Moore’s death, Judge Seeley ordered Barrus to comply with treatment and said he could be forcibly medicated. Barrus’ attorneys appealed the ruling to the Montana Supreme Court, but in January 2020 the high court upheld Seeley’s decision.
In February 2020, Barrus filed a federal lawsuit himself alleging, among other claims, he was threatened with the death penalty and denied a speedy trial. That suit sought $11 million in damages, but a federal Judge dismissed most of the claims in June 2020.
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Deputy Moore was 42 years old when he was killed, and survived by his wife Jodi and three children. Jodi created the Mason Moore Foundation which provides grants to law enforcement agencies for programs or special equipment that may not be available through the standard governmental funding process.