NewsCrime and Courts


Man pleads guilty to negligent homicide in Whitefish death

Xavier Chenault
Posted at 11:22 AM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 13:23:18-04

KALISPELL — Xavier Chenault, charged for the death of a man outside of the VFW in Whitefish last summer, pleaded guilty to felony negligent homicide in Flathead County District Court on Thursday.

Chenault, 22 years old, had initially pleaded not guilty in January in the death of 25-year-old Steven Speer of Whitefish.

According to charging documents, Whitefish Police were called to the VFW Bar and Grill on July 30 where they found Speer unresponsive with a severe head injury.

People at the scene, including Chenault, indicated to officers that no fight had occurred and informed officers that Speer was intoxicated and had fallen to the ground.

A Whitefish Police Department investigation which included security footage and interviews with witnesses found that Speer had been in an altercation with Chenault and that the victim had been knocked to the ground.

Speer was taken to a hospital on the night of the incident and died from his injuries on August 2nd.

During testimony on Thursday, Chenault told District Judge Robert Allison that he was “taking responsibility for my actions” by changing his plea to guilty.

Chenault told Judge Allison that “Speer was a friend of mine” and that they lived and worked together.

Chenault signed a binding plea agreement on April 6th and is facing a 15-year sentence to the Montana State Prison, with 10 of the years suspended. Chenault’s sentencing is set for May 20.