A Livingston man was charged with two felonies Thursday after he allegedly struck and threatened another man with a handgun during a “deal-gone-wrong” incident in Belgrade.
William Mathews Reaves, 39, appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court Friday morning, where his bail was set at $35,000. The state cited the “premeditated” and “violent” nature of his actions for the bail amount.
According to charging documents, a Gallatin County Sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the intersection of Business Hub Drive and Amsterdam Road near Belgrade for reports of a hit-and-run. One of the drivers involved reportedly “pulled a gun” after the incident.
The victim, who reported the incident, told authorities he had been struck in the face by a “semi-auto handgun.”
When deputies arrived, they found the suspect’s car crashed near the intersection. Reaves was walking around outside the car and a loaded Glock magazine was in clear view on the driver’s side floorboard.
The victim told authorities he was supposed to meet with the woman in the parking lot of Pop’s Country Store to exchange a revolver for money. During the trade, the victim said Reaves approached him with a handgun and demanded he hand over the revolver without getting any money for it.
When the victim said he didn’t have the revolver with him, Reaves reportedly got upset and began striking the victim in the face with his gun. He said Reaves pointed his gun at him and threatened him and his family. Reaves also allegedly grabbed the victim’s cell phone when he tried to call for help.
The victim tried to flee the scene in his truck, but Reaves and his female companion followed him. He said Reaves passed him and began to drive in front of him on Amsterdam Road, so he decided to speed up and ram the back of Reaves’ car. Then, he went to the Town Pump to call law enforcement.
The woman involved told police she was the one who set up the deal to exchange a revolver for money. She said she stole the revolver from Reaves and sold it to the victim in exchange for drugs. Reaves was upset when he found out, so she brought him along to the meeting to attempt to appease him.
She said Reaves was planning to “rough [the victim] up a little and get the gun.” She remained in the car during the exchange, but said she heard someone getting hit and the victim say “put the gun away.”
Her story about what happened between leaving the meeting and the car crash matched the victim’s. She added that Reaves tossed his handgun into the snow after they got out of the car.
The 40-caliber Glock 20 was found in the snow about 30 yards form Reaves’ vehicle.
He declined to speak with authorities without a lawyer present.
Both Reaves and a female passenger complained of neck and back injuries from the rear-end collision. They were taken to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for treatment.
Reaves was charged with two felony counts of robbery and tampering with evidence, as well as violating an order of protection between him and the woman involved.
Both the state and defense recommended a $35,000 bond and GPS monitoring for Reaves’ alleged crimes. If convicted of the robbery charge, he could face up to $50,000 in fines and between two and 40 years in prison.