Crow killings suspect in federal court in Missoula

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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) -- A 22-year-old man accused of killing three family members on the Crow Indian Reservation has appeared in federal court in Missoula.

Sheldon Bernard Chase appeared Thursday before Judge Jeremiah Lynch on three counts of first-degree murder stemming from last week's shootings. He faces life in prison if he is convicted.

The Missoulian reports (http://bit.ly/ov7d6n) that Lynch appointed assistant federal defender Henry "Hank Branom of Great Falls to represent Chase.

Chase was captured in Washington state on Oct. 5 -- a day after his grandmother, cousin and cousin's boyfriend were found shot to death at their home near Lodge Grass.

What sparked the violence remains unclear.

According to an FBI affidavit, a 3-year-old boy who witnessed the killings said Chase had gotten into a fight with his cousin's boyfriend.