Accused Bozeman shooter pleads not guilty


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Cody Christopher Little pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one charge of deliberate homicide and two counts of attempted deliberate homicide. Little is the 25-year-old Bozeman man accused killing Larry "LJ" Clayton outside an apartment early the morning of September 20. Charging documents allege Cody Little was partying at a residence on the 100-block of North Ferguson when an argument broke out. Witnesses told police he left, but came back a short time later with a shotgun. Investigators say Little fired one round in to the ground, one round in to the stomach of Clayton, and a third hitting another man in the leg. Clayton, died as a result of his injuries. County Attorney Marty Lambert tells NBC Montana Little faces a maximum of 330 year in prison if convicted on all charges. "The earliest you might expect a trial date for the Little case would be within one year," said Lambert. According to Lambert, one of the men Little is accused of shooting, James Armstorg, will likely lose part of his leg because of the shooting. Little remains jailed on a $1.25 million bond.

Little is an Army veteran who served in Iraq. We requested his service history back in September, and the Army released that information to NBC Montana Tuesday afternoon. The service records paint an interesting picture of the accused shooter. Little was decorated with eight awards for his two years in service. It also shows he left before he served his entire active duty enlistment. According to military records the man who now sits behind bars was once a Combat Engineer during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The documents show Little enlisted in January 2008. He began his tour overseas less than a year after joining, in December 2008. This came at the end of the troop surge and transitioned into the Iraqi sovereignty part of the war. As a combat engineer his duties could have ranged from construction to clearing routes and detecting mines. We found Little was decorated with a variety of medals and ribbons, most of the awards Little received appear to be for service, for time served overseas, professional development, or completion of training. But two that stand out are the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge. Both indicate he actively fought enemy combatants. We also found Little was awarded the Army Commendation Medal which is for heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. Just a month after his return from Iraq, Little left the service. The military says it can't release the exact nature of his discharge, saying that information is private. We have filled out a Freedom of Information Act request to find out more details about why Little did not complete his first full term of service.