MISSOULA - The trial for Colton Merritt, accused of shooting his father to death in 2021, has been set for February 2023.
Colton pleaded not guilty in January 2021 to deliberate homicide after being charged with shooting his father, 57-year-old Dan Merritt, at their Missoula home on January 4, 2021.
Prosecutors say that Missoula County 911 received a call from Merritt stating there was a dead body at his home and that he shot his father in self-defense.
Colton reportedly told the dispatcher his father was outside his bedroom door and threatening to shoot him. When his father entered the bedroom, Colton shot him before "his father made physical contact," according to court documents.
Colton told the dispatcher that he "made sure he was dead" and that he continued to shoot his father because he was twitching and wanted to put him "out of his misery."
Missoula County prosecutor Jordan Kilby said during a search warrant executed at the home Monday evening, law enforcement officers found hash oil products in the defendant's room. Kilby also said during Tuesday's initial court appearance that Daniel had filed an eviction notice with Missoula Justice Court in late December to remove Colton from the home.
Members of the Merritt family told law enforcement officers that Colton had told many family members that he pointed the gun at his father about a month prior to the fatal shooting.
It was revealed in court that the shooting actually happened the day before, and that Colton didn’t call 911 until 21 hours after the shooting.
In charging documents, prosecutors allege Colton shot his father 19 times with a .22 bolt action rifle and claiming it was self-defense.
On Tuesday, Missoula District Court Judge Robert Deschamps set Colton's trial for February 14, 2023.
He is being held on $2 million bond in the Missoula County Detention Center.
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