Snapped is examining the murder of Timothy “Tim” Newman, who was killed in a dispute with his neighbor Joseph “Joe” Campbell in a rural part of Lewis and Clark County, Montana.
On October 18, 2013, Campbell and Newman found themselves arguing on opposite sides of a fence. The confrontation ended when Campbell shot the 53-year-old Newman.
According to Campbell, his victim looked up at him and said, “You shouldn’t have done that, Joe,” before he passed away.
The police subsequently learned that Campbell had been arguing with his neighbors for years in the small community in the Falls Creek subdivision, about 20 miles southwest of Augusta, MT.
Campbell’s neighbors, including Newman, had been locked in a battle with him over access to public land.
The Lewis and Clark County Attorney’s Office became embroiled in a legal case where Campbell tried to prevent people from crossing his land to reach other areas or to collect firewood.
Joe Campbell charged with deliberate homicide in Tim Newman case
The cops arrested Campbell and charged him with deliberate homicide.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
Prosecutors argued that Campbell had shot Newman in cold blood. The victim had been shot twice, once in the back.
However, Campbell and his legal team argued that their client had fired in self-defense. Campbell accused Newman of stalking him and his wife after he refused him permission to cross his land.
Campbell claimed that Newman was armed with a gun and a set of boltcutters and was acting in a threatening manner, telling Campbell he could go anywhere he pleased.
The defense team cited a Montana law that states individuals who are threatened with bodily injury on their property have no obligation to retreat and call law enforcement before using deadly force.
Campbell claimed the second shot in Newman’s back occurred because Newman had spun around quickly, and he had fired out of reflex and fear.
The jury could not reach a decision; they deliberated for 14 hours and were deadlocked, which led to the judge calling a mistrial.
Joe Campbell admitted to killing Timothy Newman through negligent homicide
Instead of moving to a fresh trial, the prosecution decided to strike a deal. Campbell agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of negligent homicide.
He was sentenced to 20 years of probation. He must also stay 10 miles away from the community and is not allowed to own a firearm or have any contact with the victim’s family.
Newman’s family was dissatisfied with the sentence. Newman’s daughter, Kirsty Newman, wrote to the court, “How is it that you get such a minimal punishment for what you have done? Or that you get to breathe the fresh air and see the shining stars that my dad loved so much but no longer gets to enjoy.”
State Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour argued it was the best result under the circumstances as a second trial might have led to another hung jury, which would have allowed Campbell to return to the community.
This case has received lots of media attention and was previously highlighted on Dateline: Secrets Uncovered and on ID’s Fear Thy Neighbor.
Snapped airs Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen.