COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — The Washington men arrested last week in connection with the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Gabriel R. Casper are accused of ditching bloody clothes and other evidence after a drug deal gone wrong, as reported by our news partner the Coeur d'Alene Press.
Matthew J. Holmberg, 19, of Spokane Valley, is charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, a felony. Dennen T.G. Fitterer-Usher, 23, of Liberty Lake, is charged with conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and with destruction of evidence, both felonies.
Police responded May 31 to the area of 23rd Street and Coeur d’Alene Avenue, where a motorcyclist had come across a man, later identified as Casper, on the road in a pool of blood.
Neighbors reportedly attempted to render aid before first responders arrived but could not find a pulse.
Casper was later pronounced dead at Kootenai Health.
Witnesses in the area said they saw a red Jeep speeding away from the scene after gunshots rang out.
Three teens who identified themselves as friends of Casper’s reportedly told police that Casper had planned to steal drugs from Holmberg and Fitterer-Usher. Casper had allegedly arranged to meet the Washington men in Coeur d’Alene to purchase illegal pills.
Two of the teens reportedly agreed to help Casper steal the drugs, while the third agreed to be the “getaway driver.” After getting into the back seat of Holmberg’s vehicle, a red Jeep, Casper and Holmberg allegedly struggled over a duffel bag containing drugs.
Fitterer-Usher, who was in the front passenger seat, allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired at the three people in the back seat.
The teens told police they scrambled to get out of the Jeep and run.
The third teen, who planned to act as the getaway driver, said she heard gunshots and saw a red Jeep racing from the scene.
Police said the teens identified Holmberg as the dealer.
The day after the shooting, Fitterer-Usher reportedly contacted law enforcement and said he killed Casper in self defense.
When interviewed by police, Fitterer-Usher said Holmberg had asked him to accompany him to a drug deal in Coeur d’Alene on May 31.
Casper and another man got into the back seat of Holmberg’s Jeep, Fitterer-Usher said, and almost immediately pulled out handguns. Fitterer-Usher said he drew his own gun and fired, shooting Casper in the head.
Casper sustained gunshot wounds in his head, chest, back, arm and hand, according to court documents.
His body was hanging out of the car, police said, and fell out of the Jeep at 23rd Street.
After that, Fitterer-Usher said, he and Holmberg drove to Smelterville to change their bloody clothes. They also attempted to clean the blood from the interior of the Jeep.
Judge James Stow ordered Monday that Holmberg and Fitterer-Usher be held on $1 million bail.
The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our news partner, click here.