Man pleads not guilty to shooting his father


Colton Ryan Merritt, 22, charged with deliberate homicide. 

Ashley Nerbovig

A 22-year-old man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a deliberate homicide charge in the shooting death of his father earlier this month.

Colton Ryan Merritt, of Missoula, was arraigned in front of Missoula District Judge Robert Deschamps III. Public defender Jeremie Marrow appeared with Merritt at his arraignment. 

Merritt is charged with shooting and killing his father, 57-year-old Daniel L. Merritt. Colton Merritt called 911 on Jan. 4 and told dispatchers he shot his father in self-defense. The shooting happened at Colton Merritt’s house on the 4700 block of Bailey Street.

Colton Merritt told dispatchers his father was outside his door and told him “I am going to break in the door and put a bullet in your brain.” Colton Merritt told dispatchers he believed it was an empty threat. Colton Merritt said his father hit and kicked the door and was “eventually” able to unlock it.

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As his father entered the room, Colton Merritt allegedly shot him with a

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