by: Donald Cyphers
Syndicated by: Monatna News
Facts that surrounded the Helena Homicide That took place earlier in the week. According to the Montana News investigative reporter, Donald Cyphers, these are the facts surrounding the deliberate homicide and Tampering with or fabricating physical evidence charges that were filed against Austin Kroll-McLaughlin
Helena Police received a call that a man that had been shot and was lying in a driveway between 122 Bozeman Ave and 1238 Bozeman Street. According to the Coroner’s report and the Helena Police Department, Ryan Eakin had been shot to the upper right side of the chest.
Several witnesses who were minors reported to the police that they were playing at the Stone Tree Climbing Center which was located at 1222 Bozeman Ave when they notice a man by the name of Austin Lee Kroll-McLaughlin running from the area where Ryan Eakin was laying in the street.
A 10-year-old boy told the police that he had observed Austin Lee Kroll McLaughlin with a gun. Helena Police were at that time already speaking to Kroll-McLaughlin. As other Officers were talking to the 10_year-old boy, another minor was looking around and noticed that other officers were currently talking to Kroll McLaughlin. It was the same man that the minors had observed with the gun.
Police learned that Kroll-McLaughlin had been observed by the minors in the area behind and near the back of a trailer.
Officers went behind the trailer to search and located two pistols that were on the ground. One of the pistols was a Taurus 9 Millimeter semi-automatic and it was jammed.
Inside of the pistol’s ejector was a spent shell casing which indicted to the police that the weapon malfunctioned after it was last fire because the casing was not automatically ejected as the weapon was designed to do.
Officers noted that no shell casings found near the body of Ryan Eakin or in the immediate area.
The second weapon that was found was a Glock, 40 caliber. Both weapons appeared to be fully loaded with the exception of one bullet which had been fired. The brass cartridge was jammed in the Taurus 9 Millimeter. Police noticed that both the weapons had blood on them.
Kroll McLaughlin allowed the police to search his person when they were talking to him initially as a potential witness to the crime.
Austin Kroll-McLaughlin told the police that he met Ryan Eakin at the home of Brie Baker. Eakin then drove to a nearby park where Kroll-McLaughlin and Ryan Eakin met a man. That man still had not been identified by the Police Department.
All three men then drove to another parking lot. Suddenly a gunshot sounded and Ryan Eakin fell to the ground. The unidentified third man ran away. Austin Kroll-McLaughlin stated to the police that he took a few steps towards Eakin and tried to stop Eakin from bleeding. Kroll-McLaughlin used Eakin’s cell phone to dial 911.
The 911 Dispatch Center records indicate a wireless phone was used to call the 911 center just prior to a second call coming in from the owner of the Stone Tree Climbing Center to report a shooting.
Later investigators discovered that Eakin never had a cell phone on his person, but they did discover that a cell phone was in a vehicle that Eakin and the two other men had been in. One of those phones had been used to call 911.
The vehicle that Eakin’s body was near and that the cell phone was located in was registered to Kirk William Eakin, who is the deceased father of Ryan Eakin.
A security camera system from a nearby business indicated that Eakin’s vehicle entered the parking lot at about 11:00 a.m.
Helena police observed blood on Austin Kroll-McLaughlin. Blood was splattered on his chest, stomach, upper and lower arms, hands, knees and his clothing. Police took photos of this evidence as it will show a pattern during a violent injury to a person and can be analyzed to determine numerous factors such as how a person may have been injured and the distance and direction of objects from a wound.
As the Investigation continued, Officers were able to determine that indeed a third person was at the scene of the shooting. They discovered that this person was a minor.
The Minor told the police that he had been sleeping at Brie’s. He was the person that witnesses identified as running away from the area of the shooting scene back towards Brie’s. He has been identified as only “J”. “J” is a minor.
Brie and “J” were both shook up. This is how the homicide incident went down.
Upon the Helena Detective making contact with both Brie and “J”, they noticed that “J” had a very swollen jaw. “J” told police that Eakin had accused him of talking about him.
“J’ stated while at Brie’s he observed Eakin drive up so he had gone outside to talk and see what the issues were. “J” stated he got into the back seat of Eakins car, which was later, located at the shooting scene.
“J” identified Eakin and Austin Kroll-McLaughlin as being in the car as well.
“J”, stated to the police that they all three drove away from the residence and pulled into an area between some buildings near the bus station. “J” then told police that Eakin got out of the vehicle followed by Austin Kroll-McLaughlin Eakin and Kroll removed forcibly “J” from the back seat of the car. “J”’s back was now against a wall Eakin and “J” were now facing each other.
Kroll-McLaughlin was off to his left side. Suddenly he was struck by something very hard to his Jaw area on his left check. He remembered seeing Eakin move quickly as if he was ducking from something as he was being struck by Kroll-McLaughlin with something very hard.
As he was struck in the jaw on his left side by Kroll-McLaughlin, he heard a gun go off simultaneously, “J” told police that he Kroll-McLaughlin continued to attack him and challenge him to fight. “J” observed that Kroll-McLaughlin was holding a gun in his hand.
Austin Kroll-McLaughlin asked Eakin for help and when Eakin did not respond Kroll McLaughlin turned to look at where Eakin had been standing. This was the moment that”J” ran for his life.
"J" ran to Brie’s house and told her what had happened and later he found out that Eakin had been shot. “J” had panicked after the incident as he though Eakin and Kroll-McLaughlin were coming back to the house to get him. He did not even know why they were mad at him.
Brie told police the “J” came to her house and told her about “j” getting “pistol whipped” by Austin Kroll McLaughlin. Brie told police that she was scared and did not know what to do and then found out about the shooting on the news.
Police later arrested Austin Kroll-McLaughlin for deliberate Homicide. He is being held under a $200,000 bond.