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Martin City shooter pleads not guilty to charges

| September 14, 2022 7:25 AM

By DERRICK PERKINS

For the Hungry Horse News

Before a nearly full courtroom Tuesday, the man accused of shooting a young local couple — and killing one — during a disagreement involving a golf cart pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including deliberate homicide.

Del Orrin Crawford, 40, of Kila, seated beside defense attorney Daniel Wood, entered not guilty pleas to deliberate homicide, attempted deliberate homicide and tampering with physical evidence during his Sept. 6 arraignment. Judge Amy Eddy, who is presiding over the case, accepted the pleas.

Crawford, arrested shortly after the deadly Aug. 27 shooting, betrayed no emotion as he appeared wearing an inmate’s orange sweatshirt. He remains held in the county jail with bail set at $750,000.

Prosecutors allege Crawford pulled a gun and opened fire after getting shoved to the ground during last month’s confrontation. Witnesses at the scene told responding Flathead County Sheriff’s Office deputies that one of the victims, Whisper Sellars, was on a golf cart parked outside of a Martin City bar about 1 a.m., according to court documents.

Those witnesses told authorities they saw Crawford confront Sellars and the two allegedly got into an argument, escalating to pushing and shoving. One witness said Crawford approached the golf cart after seeing “some people try to start” the vehicle, according to court documents. The witness said they unsuccessfully tried to deescalate the disagreement.

Sellars’ husband, Doug Crosswhite, intervened and pushed Crawford to the ground, according to court documents. Crawford, after picking himself up, pulled a handgun from his waistline and opened fire, court documents said.

When deputies arrived, they found Sellars unconscious and not breathing, suffering a gunshot wound to the chest. Authorities pronounced her dead at the scene.

Crosswhite, meanwhile, suffered gunshot wounds to his arm and chest. By the time authorities arrived, those at the scene applied a tourniquet to the arm and put a seal on the chest wound, court documents said. Emergency responders took him to Logan Health Medical Center for further care.

A GoFundMe for Crosswhite, which had raised $44,476 toward a goal of $50,000 as of Sept. 6, described his injuries as severe and requiring extensive surgery. He and Sellars were raising five children together and Crosswhite now must pay for funeral expenses on top of medical costs, the description reads.

Crawford, who fled after the shooting, allegedly turned himself into authorities after they contacted him by phone. According to court documents, he told deputies over the phone that he fired in self-defense and was not far from the scene of the shooting.

During his Sept. 6 arraignment, Eddy set his trial schedule, which includes a required appearance on Nov. 7 for a status hearing.

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