Man pleads not guilty in Marion killing

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Mark Bolton Ames, 52

The Lakeside man accused of gunning down another man at his Marion home has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide.

Mark Bolton Ames, 52, entered the plea Thursday in Flathead District Court, flanked by attorneys Nicholas Aemisegger and Greg Rapkoch.

Ames is accused of firing a few rounds from an AK-47 into 60-year-old Harold Gordon’s side of the duplex between midnight and 1:44 a.m. on Jan. 12.

At that point Gordon grabbed a shotgun and stepped outside to confront him.

Ames allegedly pulled out a .32-caliber semiautomatic handgun and shot Gordon twice, once in the chest and once in the shoulder, killing him.

Ames’ wife, Julia, and her 12- and 14-year-old children also were present. They and Ames were living in the other unit of the 484 Cardigan Way duplex. A state property-tax records website indicates that sometime before Nov. 20, 2012, Julia Ames had been added as a second legal owner of the property, along with Gordon.

That was despite the fact that both Gordon and Mark Ames had restraining orders against each another.

Gordon’s restraining order, approved by District Judge Ted Lympus and not set to expire until August, required Ames to stay 5,000 feet away from Gordon or Gordon’s home or vehicle. The request for the order specifically requested Ames “not go near my home or property or harm or harass anyone living on my property.”

Mark Ames’ restraining order against Gordon was filed in Washington.

A lawsuit filed in July last year naming both Julia Ames and Gordon as defendants has shed more light on their connection.

It states that Gordon was the guarantor of fees and costs incurred by Julia Ames in a divorce case beginning in June 2012 before the attorney’s services were terminated four months later. It also indicated the two jointly held property.

Peter Caroll, who is representing himself in the case, is seeking to recoup $1,637 in unpaid legal costs and interest.  

The case was dismissed with prejudice on Jan. 3 by District Judge David Ortley, meaning it cannot be filed again.

In court on Thursday, Ames’ attorneys challenged the requirement that Ames have no contact with Julia or his children.

“The right to associate with family is ... the most fundamental right we have,” Rapkoch said, adding that prosecutors must give compelling reasons why that right would be infringed upon.

Flathead County Attorney Ed Corrigan argued that the three are witnesses in the case and noted that the investigation into the alleged murder is ongoing.

District Judge Heidi Ulbricht declined to take up the issue during Thursday’s hearing but said another hearing to handle the request would be scheduled if one was requested by Ames’ attorneys.

Ames is currently incarcerated in the Flathead County Detention Center, where his bond is set at $500,000.

Gordon, also known as “Cappy,” previously lived in Nevada County, Calif., where he had worked for many years at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. His ex-wife recently told the Grass Valley Union in California that he retired in 2010 before moving to Montana.

Reporter Jesse Davis may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at jdavis@dailyinterlake.com.

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