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Whitefish man pleads not guilt to attack

by DERRICK PERKINS
Hagadone News Network | September 12, 2023 12:00 AM

A Whitefish man accused of beating down the door of a Kalispell apartment and attacking the man inside last month now faces a felony charge in Flathead County District Court.

Douglas Trent Zellers, 27, pleaded not guilty to one count of burglary before Judge Danni Coffman at his Sept. 7 arraignment. Booked into county jail Sept. 2 and held with bail set at $30,000, he was released from custody the same day as his court appearance, according to detention center records.

Authorities began searching for Zellers after responding to an alleged early morning Aug. 20 attack on Sixth Avenue West in Kalispell, according to court documents. The victim told Kalispell Police officers that Zellers kicked his apartment door in, grabbed him and threw him outside, court documents said.

After removing the victim from the apartment, Zellers allegedly punched and strangled him.

One witness told officers that Zellers made clear his intent prior to the attack, allegedly announcing he planned to beat the victim. Another reported arriving at the apartment about the same time as Zellers and seeing him kick the door open, grab the victim and pull him outside before pummeling him, court documents said.

Officers reported finding the door to the home severely damaged and plaster littering the floor of the apartment, according to court documents.

They noted that the victim suffered abrasions on his legs and hands as well as redness around the neck, court documents said.

While investigating, officers also overheard a phone call taken by one of the witnesses. They allegedly heard Zellers on the other end of the line admitting to assaulting the victim.

Burglary is punishable by up to 20 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

An omnibus hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 27 with a pretrial conference to follow on Nov. 17.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or dperkins@dailyinterlake.com.