County cleared in York inquest

By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter
County cleared in York inquest
CORONERS INQUEST — Pondera County Sherriff Tom Kuka testifies during the coroner’s inquest into the death of former Conrad resident Terry York this past Wednesday. The County was not found to be responsible for the death by a six member jury. I-O Photo by Adam Jerome
   On Wednesday afternoon a coroner’s inquest was held on the death of Terry York.  
   York was taken into custody in February.  After being denied bail he was given a ride by the Sheriff’s office out to his residence at 527 Furlough Road to retrieve some medication and to feed his livestock.  While there York died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
   The coroner’s inquest was held to determine what he died from and to see if there was any criminal means that led to his death.
   After three hours of testimony the six member jury found that in fact, York had died by his own hands, and that Pondera County was not responsible for his death.
   The inquest was presided over by Fergus County Coroner Dick Brown.  Choteau County attorney Steve Gannon tried the case, because of a conflict of interest with Pondera County Attorney, Mary Ann Ries.
   The inquest featured testimony from Sherriff Tom Kuka, York’s ex-wife, Mary Kay Malloy, Deputy Sherriff Ed Erickson, and State Medical Examiner Gary Dale.
   Kuka and Malloy were at the York residence at the time of York’s death.  Their testimonies were very similar as they both recounted that fateful day’s activity.
   The one issue that remained unresolved is how and where York obtained a gun.  As a registered violent offender, York was not able to own a gun.  Malloy testified that she did not know of York owning a gun and had no idea where it came from.  York’s residence had been searched on previous occasions, and no firearms were ever found.  
   The gun was reported to be in excellent condition, indicating that the gun was not stored outside.
   The State Medical Examiner testified that York had both painkillers and anti-depressants in his system, but he was not under the influence at the time of his death.