NewsCrime and Courts


Deaths of 2 people in casino fire being investigated as double homicide

honest toms investigation.jpg
Posted at 4:25 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 18:38:14-04

Authorities in Carbon County are investigating the deaths of two people found dead after a fire last month at Honest Tom's Casino as a double homicide, Sheriff Josh McQuillan said Wednesday.

On April 20, firefighters and law enforcement officers responded to the fire at the casino and discovered the bodies of Marla Murray, 71 years old, and John Ahles, 33.

Murray was the sole employee on shift, and Ahles was an employee but not working at the time.

The Carbon County Sheriff's Office and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation are conducting the investigation, and McQuillan said law enforcement does not believe there is any ongoing threat to the community.

Autopsies were conducted in Billings, but the results have not been released at this point.


(APRIL 21, 2022) Two people were found dead inside Honest Tom's Casino in Bridger on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, after a fire.

Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan said the two people have been identified as Marla Murray, 71 years old, and John Ahles, 33. Murray was an employee of the casino, and Ahles was a customer. Both were from Bridger.

According to the Carbon County Sheriff's Office, the two people were found dead in the building when firefighters began "extinguishment" efforts.

2 people found dead in fire at Bridger casino

Bridger Police Chief Mike Buechler said, "The call came in, 911. I got here, there was smoke billowing out of the door. I tried to yell in to see if anybody was in there. Nobody answered me. I open the screen door trying to see in there. You can only see a couple of feet. I come back out. We got the fire department here as soon as possible. And they discovered two bodies.”

The state crime lab in Billings will conduct autopsies on Thursday to determine the cause and manner of death.

There is no word yet on the suspected cause of the fire. We will update you when we get more information.

The Sheriff's Office said that there is an "ongoing collaborative investigation" involving the Bridger Police Department, Montana Department of Criminal Investigations, Montana State Fire Marshal's Office, and the Carbon County Sheriff's Office.

Responding agencies included the Bridger Police Department; fire departments from Bridger, Fromberg, and Belfry; the State Fire Marshal; and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office.

bridger montana