HELENA, Mont. (TCD) -- Two men were charged with murder this week after a 39-year-old man’s body was found frozen in the snow with a gunshot wound to his head.
On Jan. 14, the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office announced a person called 911 to report a body on Rimini Road about 4.5 miles south of Highway 12. The caller was reportedly preparing to go snowmobiling and "noticed something suspicious looking," which they believed was a human body. Investigators responded to the scene and confirmed the presence of a body, which they were investigating as a "suspicious death."
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton said in a press conference Jan. 18 that it is being investigated as a homicide. Dutton identified the victim as Michael Anthony Biggs. He announced Robert John Harvel, 31, and Brandon Michael Beckman, 36, were taken into custody and charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with or fabricating evidence. Dutton said Biggs' killing was not random.
"It was purposeful," he said.
According to court records cited by the Helena Independent Record, a witness called law enforcement officials to report they had helped two men who were stuck in the snow at around 10:30 a.m. close to where Biggs' body was later discovered. The witness reportedly described people matching Harvel and Beckman’s descriptions. The blue sedan the men were stuck in was reportedly impounded because Harvel was taken into custody on an unrelated manner, the Independent Record reports.
Detectives reportedly spoke with some of Biggs' acquaintances and learned he recently cashed in a check for a "large amount of money." Surveillance footage reportedly showed Biggs at a casino with Beckman as well as Biggs giving him money to use for gambling.
Harvel allegedly told investigators Beckman had Harvel drive the three of them to Rimini Road to buy some meth. Beckman, who was in the back seat, reportedly asked Biggs to switch seats with him because Biggs was in the passenger seat. When Biggs got out of the car, Harvel said Beckman shot Biggs in the head. Beckman allegedly pointed the gun at Harvel and told him to help move the body.
According to the Independent Record, Harvel said Beckman took Biggs' money. They allegedly tried leaving the area but then got stuck in the snow.
Both men are being held on $75,000 bond.
The Sheriff’s Office said the manner and cause of death are still pending.