Townsend, MT – A judge sentenced 66-year-old Lloyd Barrus to prison for life without parole on Friday for his part in the 2017 murder of Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore.
Deputy Moore was murdered by Marshall Barrus just before 3 a.m. on May 16, 2017 during a pursuit near Three Forks, KTVQ reported.
His father, Lloyd Barrus, was driving the vehicle during the chase.
Prosecutors said that Lloyd and Marshall Barrus were on a “suicide mission” when the raced past Deputy Moore at more than 100 mph, the Montana Standard reported.
Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Deputy Moore initiated pursuit of a white SUV that wouldn’t stop and then dispatchers lost contact with him, KTVQ reported.
Prosecutors said Deputy Moore was shot in the face by a bullet fired through his windshield by Marshall Barrus on U.S. 287 south of Townsend, the Montana Standard reported.
Video from the inside Deputy Moore’s patrol vehicle showed that the wounded hero was still alive after he stopped his vehicle.
Then the Chevy Suburban returned four minutes later and a semiautomatic rifle opened fire on Deputy Moore and killed him, the Montana Standard reported.
“As Mason is suffering, you’ll hear these 19 rounds,” Montana Assistant Attorney General Daniel Guzynski told the jury during the trial.
When Deputy Moore failed to answer radio calls, a Gallatin deputy was sent to Deputy Moore’s last known location to check on him and found the hero dead.
He reviewed Deputy Moore’s dash camera video and was able to identify the suspect’s SUV as a 1998 Chevrolet Suburban with California plates, and issued an alert for the vehicle.
Butte-Silver Bow County Sheriff Ed Lester said that Butte-Silver Bow County deputies spotted the SUV westbound on I-90 near the Continental Drive interchange about 3:27 a.m.
They tried to stop the SUV but the driver refused, and a pursuit was initiated.
At times, the chase reached speeds of over 100 miles per hour as deputies chased the Suburban westbound on I-90 through Deer Lodge County and Powell County, and into Granite County.
The Montana Highway Patrol deployed spike strips in Powell County at mile marker 162, but the SUV refused to stop, even with punctured tires.
The SUV continued west until it reached the Rock Creek area and stopped, at which point the passenger began firing out of the rear window with at least one semiautomatic rifle at deputies.
Three Butte-Silver Bow deputies’ cruisers were hit by gunfire, and two of them seriously enough to be disabled.
Other agencies’ vehicles were also reported to have been struck by gunfire.
Marshall Barrus, 39, was fatally shot by police during the gunfight.
His father, who led the 150-mile chase, was charged with deliberate homicide by accountability, two counts of attempted deliberate homicide, assault on a peace officer, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, according to KTVQ.
Deputy Moore’s family and law enforcement supporters were disappointed that prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty for Lloyd Barrus.
Prosecutors told the jury during a three week trial that Lloyd Barrus should be held accountable by soliciting, aiding, abetting, or agreeing with his son that day, the Montana Standard reported.
“Everything he did was helping his son to try to kill those officers,” Broadwater County Prosecuting Attorney Cory Swanson said.
The jury found Lloyd Barrus guilty of three counts of deliberate homicide by accountability and two counts of attempted deliberate homicide in the shooting death of Deputy Moore in September of 2021, the Montana Standard reported.
Judge Kathy Seeley sentenced Lloyd Barrus to three concurrent life sentences on April 22, KTVH reported.
“Justice has been a long time coming for Lloyd Barrus after his responsibility in the murder of Deputy Mason Moore, a Montana hero,” Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen said in a statement.
“I’m proud of our DOJ prosecutors and the work they did alongside the Broadwater County Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners,” Knudsen added.