HARDIN – A 34-year-old Big Horn County man was arrested and charged Tuesday in Billings with deliberate homicide in connection with the recent death of a 5-year-old girl.
Big Horn County Prosecutor Jay Harris said in a news release that Bridger Franklin Boyd was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offender Task Force in Billings and is being held in Yellowstone County jail on a $1 million bond.
According to charging documents, Boyd and his wife brought the girl, one of several children in their foster care, to Big Horn County Memorial Hospital on June 18 after she was unresponsive.
Big Horn County sheriff’s deputies launched an investigation after being alerted by hospital staff, according to Harris.
Boyd allegedly admitted to Big Horn County Undersheriff Michael Fuss that he had slammed the child’s head against the wall and struck her with his fists while she was on the floor several days earlier at their Big Horn County residence near Busby, according to Harris.
Boyd’s other foster children have been removed from his household and placed in alternative homes, Harris said.
Boyd also faces a charge of aggravated assault.
He is being prosecuted under Montana’s felony murder rule, which states that if the death of another person in the course of another felony, including aggravated assault, the defendant may be charged with deliberate assault.
If found guilty, Boyd could face the death penalty, life in prison or up to 100 years in prison. Aggravated assault carries up to a 20-year sentence and a $50,000 fine.
The circumstances of the death remain under investigation by the Big Horn County sheriff, the Montana medical examiner and the state Department of Health and Human Services, Harris said.