Former Malmstrom Airman Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide

Malmstrom Air Force Base 2nd Ave. N. Gate.
Malmstrom Air Force Base 2nd Ave. N. Gate. (U.S. Air Force)

GREAT FALLS, Mont.  — A former airman at Malmstrom Air Force Base has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the accidental shooting death of a fellow airman in February 2020, Cascade County prosecutors said.

Christopher Domonic Contardo, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday in the death of Tristen Carlson, 21, of Sidney during an off-base party hosted by Contardo.

Defense attorney Nathan Hoines said both Contardo and Carlson had been drinking and were “messing around” with a 9mm handgun early on Feb. 2, 2020. The gun discharged while Contado was holding it, killing Carlson.

As a former member of the military police, Contardo acknowledged he had firearms training and that shooting Carlson was a result of negligence.

County Attorney Josh Racki told District Judge John Parker that a mediation involving Carlson’s family led to a plea agreement that recommends Contardo spend 150 days in a prerelease center and serve six years on probation.

If Judge Parker accepts the plea agreement, Contardo would also have to buy Carlson's daughter a $100 savings bond on the anniversary of her father's death during each of the six years he's on probation. He would also have to perform 80 hours of community service each year with a veterans group.

A sentencing date has not been set.

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