David Earl Hutto admitted to investigators he was present when William “Bo” Kirk was killed on Oct. 22, according to court testimony unsealed by a judge Monday in Coeur d’Alene.
After his arrest Oct. 28 on a murder charge, the 44-year-old Hutto told a Kootenai County sheriff’s detective and an FBI agent that an acquaintance of his known by the nickname Cowboy was not involved in the death of Kirk.
“In response I asked Mr. Hutto how he knew this information, and he replied, ‘Because I was there,’ ” Detective Sgt. Ken Lallatin, the lead investigator in the case, told a judge on Oct. 30.
Hutto is accused of shooting Kirk in what prosecutors described as a random road rage incident after Kirk, an X-ray technician, left his shift at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls and was heading home to his wife and children.
Lallatin said he also interviewed Justin Roy Booth, who lived and worked with Hutto at a Hayden home and also was arrested Oct. 28, on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a gun.
Booth, 36, cooperated with investigators and provided information on his and Hutto’s involvement in Kirk’s death, according to Lallatin and Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh. McHugh asked a judge to seal detectives’ testimony detailing reasonable grounds for holding Hutto for murder out of concern for Booth’s family.
“There is concern based upon communication from Mr. Booth that his family may be at risk based on associates of Mr. Hutto,” McHugh told 1st District Magistrate Judge Mayli Walsh.
If the testimony of sheriff’s Detectives Todd Jackson and Terry Campbell were made public, it also might deter Booth from cooperating further with investigators, McHugh told Walsh, who agreed to seal the probable cause testimony.
District Court Senior Judge Robert Burton ordered a portion of the material unsealed Monday morning in response to legal challenges by The Spokesman-Review and KREM-TV.
Booth is being held in the Bonner County Jail, where federal inmates in North Idaho are kept.
A judge set Hutto’s bail at $2 million, and he could face life in prison if convicted.
A daylong preliminary hearing for Hutto will be scheduled within the next week, Burton said Monday. Hutto was back in court for Monday’s hearing, dressed in red-and-white-striped jail clothing and cuffed at the ankles and wrists.
Hutto was arrested Oct. 28 at the Coeur d’Alene Burger King on Appleway Avenue and booked into the Kootenai County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder. His arrest came three days after Kirk’s body was found near Hayden Creek in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.
Investigators were flooded with over 400 tips from the public after authorities released photos and video showing someone driving Kirk’s pickup truck to two local banks before 9 p.m. Oct. 22 and withdrawing cash from Kirk’s accounts. The driver wore a mask over his nose and mouth, a stocking hat, a bulky flannel sweater and gloves. A second man was partly visible in the truck in surveillance videos released to the public.
Kirk’s truck later was found on fire in the 23000 block of North Rimrock Road, 8 miles from where his body was found near the Hayden Creek shooting range. Hutto allegedly torched Kirk’s truck to conceal the crime, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Perez said at the defendant’s first court appearance last week.
Perez said Kirk’s abduction and killing appeared to be “a random attack.”
Hutto and Booth both lived at 1319 E. Miles Ave. That residence was searched by investigators, as were the contents of each man’s phone. They are the same phone numbers listed on their business cards for “2 Brothers Small Engine Repair,” which they also advertised on Facebook.
In their search of the home on Miles Avenue, detectives found a Taurus .38 Special revolver. The handgun matched the description of one that Booth took possession of Oct. 15, in exchange for two mopeds, in violation of his felony parole, according to federal court documents.
Booth has a prior conviction in Kootenai County for robbery, burglary and other felonies.
It’s not clear if that is the gun used to kill Kirk.
Attorneys Debora Kristensen and Joel Hazel, both media law specialists and members of the Idaho Supreme Court Media and Courts Committee, worked together to unseal the records. Kristensen represents KREM and Hazel represents The Spokesman-Review.
Some records pertaining to the results of search warrants remain sealed in the case.
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