Montana

Jun 20, 2012 5:06 PM by Erin Schattauer - MTN News

Woman accused of shooting former tenant pleads not guilty

BOZEMAN - Diana Arnold, the Gallatin County woman accused of breaking into her former tenant's mobile home along Springhill Road and shooting him, pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday morning.

Arnold, 58, appeared before Judge John Brown and pleaded not guilty to attempted deliberate homicide and aggravated burglary. The judge continued her bail at $1 million, but scheduled a bail reduction hearing to consider her attorney's request to lower bail on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

Defense attorney Chuck Watson said he has a lot to present to the court during the bail hearing, including "the mental health issue."

Arnold, clad in jail scrubs, spoke softly Wednesday morning, answering the judge's questions, her hands clasped in front of her. Rows of people filled the courtroom Tuesday morning, presumably for Arnold's case, and filed out after her time with the judge wrapped up.

Watson noted that Arnold "has a lot of support in the community."

According to court documents, Henry McDunn told deputies he returned to his 3103 Springhill Road home a few weeks ago and was ambushed by Arnold who shot him in the back of the head as he walked in the door.

He fell to the ground and turned towards her, grabbing a broom to defend himself, but she shot him again, this time in the chest, court documents state. McDunn said he was able to get the gun away from her and pin her to the ground until deputies arrived.

Henry's wife, Kathleen, told deputies they and Arnold had been involved in a civil lawsuit, and last week, a judge ruled in the McDunns favor, saying Arnold had to pay them about $1,200.

Investigators say they found parts of a disguise that Arnold wore, including a hat with fake hair sewn into it and larger shoes worn over her own shoes. She also reportedly had earplugs pinned to her jacket and was wearing gloves. Her car was found at the intersection of Stonegate Drive and Springhill Road, about 1/3 mile from the scene, with the entire passenger compartment covered in plastic as if to keep the interior clean, court papers state.

Deputies found that a screen had been cut and a ladder had been placed against the McDunns home to gain entry. They found a .22 caliber pistol with four expended rounds. They also found that the home was filled with wadded up newspapers, wooden matches and open match books. An oily substance was reportedly poured over the couch and two one-gallon bottles of gasoline were in the room with McDunn and Arnold, court documents state

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