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'Beat until he was dead' - family calls for an arrest in Billings homicide case

It's been one month since Denis Osborne was killed in an altercation with a teen
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Posted at 7:09 PM, Jul 04, 2024

As Nicole Bookheimer copes with the grief of losing her father, she can’t comprehend why the person responsible for his death, is not behind bars, even though police are actively investigating the case as a homicide.

Denis Osborne, 55 years old, died in what Billings Police called a road rage altercation with a 17-year-old boy in the Billings Heights on June 4.

But Bookheimer and her family say it was not a road rage incident, and instead her father was ruthlessly beat and left to die on the road.

MTN News contacted Billings Police this week for an update on the case to ask why no one has been charged. MTN News is also choosing not to identify the 17-year-old accused in the attack.

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Sgt Jeff Stovall says the case is still under investigation with the detectives’ division.

“To protect the integrity of the investigation we won’t have a statement at this time other than it’s an open investigation,” Stovall said in an email.

But the lack of communication from police is another frustration of the Osborne family.

“He is out there enjoying his life every day,” said Bookheimer. "You took away a husband, you took away a father."

She says, at this point, her family is tired of patiently waiting for details and instead have decided to take back control of the narrative of what happened the night her father was killed.

“It’s just this feeling of how this fair is this?” said Bookheimer.

The family says, at first, they assumed Osborne was struck by a car after the altercation with the teen, because of the extent of injuries to his body.

Turns out, he was brutally beaten, she said.

Osborne was found on the street on Radford Square in the Billings Heights, where his elderly mother lives. Bookheimer says her dad was with her grandmother that evening watching the baseball game outside on her back deck.

The same baseball game, the 17-year-old was coming from when Bookheimer says, the teen came tearing through the neighborhood going way too fast and driving erratically.

She says, that’s what prompted her father to act.

“Words were said,” she said. “I am going to tell you; my dad probably called him everything under the sun because he was like you need to slow down you can’t drive 80 in a neighborhood with young kids across the street.”

According to the family’s account from police, the teen got out of his car and struck Osborne to the ground.

But Bookheimer says it didn’t end there.

“And he hit him, and he fell over, and they continued to beat him until he was dead,” she said.

She says, so severely, his body was too beaten to have a viewing at his funeral.

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“This was your fist, your feet. You were stomping on his face, this was terrible and evil,” said Bookheimer.

And when asked about the criminal case being locked up in a possible self-defense claim from the teen, Bookheimer says, there’s no way that’s probable because of the health of her father's body.

Osborne’s wife, Jaymie Osborne recalls the amount of time she spent in the hospital with her husband, helping him regain control of his legs after a stroke in May of 2023.

“If you knocked him down once, he wasn’t getting up, there was no way unless you helped him up,” said Jaymie Osborne.

She says, her husband moved delicately because in addition to his stroke, he also had two recent hip replacements.

Bookheimer says, knowing all of this, she just can’t comprehend why police have not arrested the teen.

"I want to have compassion and I want to have gracious space in my heart for that family," she said. “But I want that family to understand that they have turned out lives upside down."