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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 20, 2006

Two charged in killing of Pearl-based SEAL

Associated Press

WOLF POINT, Mont. Two Wolf Point brothers were charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court in connection with last week's stabbing death of a Pearl Harbor Navy SEAL who was home on leave.

Gerald Littlehead Jr., 23, pleaded not guilty to murder April 13 and is being held without bail, according to court documents made public yesterday. David Zephier, 29, pleaded not guilty to criminal complicity to murder and was released on bail.

Fort Peck tribal police and the FBI are investigating the April 11 death of Mike Bell, 22, and few other details have been released.

Childhood friend Michelle Clancy told The Billings Gazette she saw Bell that night at the Water Hole bar. She said she saw him there around closing time "20 minutes before everything happened."

Clancy said at least two versions of what happened next are circulating through town. Law enforcement officials have confirmed only that Bell was stabbed and taken to a Billings hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Clancy went to high school with Bell, who graduated with honors in 2001. She described him as a perfectionist.

"He was an overachiever," she said. "He knew it, and he didn't care. He liked that."

Navy Lt. Chris Colson, who is based in Billings, was in Wolf Point this week to attend to Bell's family and provide assistance to the nearly 20 seamen who went to the funeral, which took place yesterday at the high school gym.

Bell served in the Navy for five years and was selected for some of the most prestigious training and positions in the elite Navy SEALs, including sniper duties, Colson said. His platoon was stationed in Hawai'i and has completed operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Colson estimated 400 people attended Bell's funeral.

"He came back there to celebrate, and to have something as tragic as this happen ... you could see it in the overwhelming numbers of people who came out," Colson said. "This city is really hurting, really mourning a community loss."