$1M bail set in shooting deaths of brothers in Three Forks

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Bail was set at $1 million Tuesday for a Three Forks man charged with killing two brothers during a weekend fight.

Zachary Eugene Norman, 24, made an initial appearance in Gallatin County Justice Court on two counts of deliberate homicide for the shootings early Saturday that killed Chase Estabrook, 32, of Butte and Brendan Estabrook, 31, of Three Forks.

He did not enter a plea.

His public defenders cited Norman’s lifelong ties to Gallatin County, his completion of a hunter’s safety course and other firearms training and his lack of criminal record in asking Justice of the Peace Bryan Adams to set bail at $10,000, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Adams followed the prosecutors’ bail recommendation.

Witnesses told investigators that Norman was among a group of people who left a bar in Three Forks when it closed at 2 a.m. Saturday and went to someone’s house.

The bartender reported he arrived at the residence at about 3 a.m. and heard Norman arguing with the Estabrook brothers. The physical and verbal altercation spilled out into the driveway and the bartender said he believed the fight was over when he saw Norman walking away, followed by the brothers.

The bartender then heard a “commotion” and saw the three men fighting near an intersection. He then heard five or six gunshots and a brief pause, followed by a few more gunshots, court records said.

A search at Norman’s residence, where he lives with his father, turned up a Glock handgun in a plastic holster behind the water heater in a closet in his father’s bedroom, court records said.

Norman provided inconsistent statements to officers, initially saying he did not remember anything after leaving a strip club late on Friday night until officers arrived at his house early Saturday. He said he did not know where his handgun was.

Later, he acknowledged carrying his handgun in the bars that night and that he had been in a garage at the residence near where the shooting occurred, investigators said.