Monday, April 22, 2024

Details emerge, charges explained in attempted murder case

Staff Writer | January 30, 2024 1:07 AM

WALLACE — Details have emerged in the recent alleged shooting of a Kellogg woman by her boyfriend. 

During his first appearance in court before Magistrate Judge Keisha Oxendine on Friday, Owen R. Seatz, 23, was charged with a single count each of battery with intent to commit a serious felony, domestic battery without traumatic injury and resisting or obstructing a public officer.

As part of the battery with intent charge, Seatz is accused of attempted murder. 

The charges stem from a Jan. 25 incident when Seatz allegedly shot his girlfriend, Arika Gilmore, while she was reportedly attempting to gain entry to their shared residence on Chestnut Street in Kellogg. 

According to police investigators' probable cause affidavit, the incident began with a night of drinking by Gilmore and Seatz at a local bar, but when it came time for the establishment’s ‘last call,’ Seatz became angry because he wanted to continue drinking. 

Seatz reportedly then left the bar with a few other individuals. Gilmore stayed behind. 

Officer David Bishop, with the Kellogg Police Department, initially responded to the call, which had been reported as an attempted burglary resulting in the firing of a weapon, but as he made his way to the home he was informed that a separate call had come in about a person being shot and needing medical attention. 

Bishop arrived at the home to find Gilmore in the backyard bleeding and in extreme pain. Her mother had arrived at the home before Bishop and was with her daughter. 

Police records say Seatz initially resisted arrest until Bishop threatened him with a taser. 

Once Bishop had Seatz in custody and had read him his rights, he was able to briefly interview him, where he gave his account of events that resulted in the shooting. 

Gilmore also gave Bishop her account of the evening, which lined up with Seatz’s story until just before the shooting occurred. 

Reportedly, when Gilmore returned to their shared residence, she discovered she was locked out and began knocking on the door until someone answered. Allegedly, a large number of people were in the home, which upset Gilmore and led to Seatz wanting her to leave for the night and stay with her family. 

At this point, their argument turned physical when Seatz reportedly both pushed and picked Gilmore up and removed her from the home two times. 

Gilmore told police she was upset she wasn’t allowed to retrieve her personal effects from the home before leaving. She reportedly said it was at this point she decided to break a window with a shovel to gain access to the residence. 

According to Gilmore, she announced what she was planning to do and Seatz allegedly responded to her, “Do it and find out what happens.” 

She told police she broke the window, and then she was shot.

Seatz’s account differs significantly from the alleged victim’s. 

Seatz told Bishop that after he removed Gilmore from the home, he reportedly heard someone breaking into the rear of the home, retrieved a 12-gauge shotgun, and then gave several verbal warnings before firing the gun in an attempt to scare off a burglar. He reportedly told police he didn’t know it was Gilmore and that he "didn’t mean to shoot Arika.” 

A separate witness, Larry Sease Jr., who reportedly was at the residence during the entire altercation, also gave his account of the incident to Bishop. Sease, whose story followed along with both Gilmore and Seatz, was one of the reported "many" individuals at the home with Seatz when Gilmore returned from the bar. 

Allegedly, after witnessing the fighting between the couple, everyone left the residence, except for Sease, Seatz and Gilmore. 

Sease allegedly remained at the residence to keep an eye on Seatz, who he described as “aggressive and being a danger,” in the report. 

Sease told Bishop that after Seatz removed Gilmore from the home for the second time, Seatz went into their shared bedroom and returned to the living room with a shotgun. 

Less than a minute later, there was the sound of breaking glass and according to Sease, Seatz went into the bedroom and pointed the gun at the window. Sease said he attempted to grab the barrel and tried to stop Seatz. Seatz allegedly pulled away from Sease and fired the gun. 

Sease reportedly then fled the residence in fear, but was drawn to the sounds of screaming coming from the rear of the home, where he found Gilmore and attempted to help her until emergency personnel arrived. Sease also reportedly told Bishop he believed the burglar in question was indeed Gilmore, due to the minimal time that elapsed between her removal from the house and the window being broken. 

Gilmore was taken to Shoshone Medical Center, but transported to Kootenai Health due to the severity of her injuries. 

Last week, just days before the shooting, Seatz pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine as part of a deal from the state that recommended dropping two other drug charges and included a suspended seven-year sentence. He was released on bond awaiting sentencing in April. One of the conditions of the state's recommendation was that Seatz would have no new criminal offenses, resulting in an initial finding of probable cause before the date of sentencing, so it's likely the plea agreement is off the table. 

Seatz is also on probation stemming from two separate driving under the influence charges. 

Shoshone County Deputy Prosecutor Britney Jacobs explained that conditions of Seatz’s current freedom (probation and the conditions of his bond) included that he avoid alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, submit to drug and alcohol testing and not commit any further law violations. According to Jacobs, Seatz failed at least three different urinalysis tests, two for amphetamines, another for alcohol. 

“The charges in this case have a very high maximum penalty,” Jacobs stated. “The victim in this case could have suffered a very different result had the firearm hit her in a different location and then Mr. Seatz would likely be seeing a very different charge. However, the acts that he took in this case alone are extremely concerning for the state as well as community safety reasons.”

Any battery committed with the intent to commit murder, rape, mayhem, robbery, or lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor child is a battery with the intent to commit a serious felony — which carries a potential maximum of 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. 

After hearing from the state, Judge Oxendine was also concerned with public safety and set Seatz’s bond at $200,000. 

Seatz remained Monday in the custody of the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office.