BILLINGS- Two men are facing assault charges for beating the woman who prosecutors say pulled the trigger and shot to death a 20-year-old Billings woman who showed up at a local hospital with a gunshot wound.
William Newkirk, 38, and Djavon King, 29, were both booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Center on charges of aggravated assault by accountability, a felony. Authorities say they may also be connected to a human-trafficking investigation in Billings.
Prosecutors said both are also involved in an altercation which led to the shooting of a 20-year-old woman early Tuesday morning at a home on Laurel Road.
Yellowstone County Coroner Cliff Mahoney confirmed the woman who suffered a gunshot wound early Tuesday morning and died Thursday is Kayonna Gonzalez, 20, of Billings.
Billings police tweeted that Gonzalez was treated at a local hospital for a gunshot wound, died at the hospital and the investigation is now classified as a homicide. No charges or arrests have been made, said police.
However, prosecutors say an 18-year-old female who pulled the trigger is also the victim of a group-beating, where Newkirk and King played a role, according to court documents.
The altercation took place Tuesday when Newkirk started pressuring the18-year-old, who was not identified, to date him for “several days, but she told him no.”
The 18-year-old was driven to a trailer park on Laurel Road where King and Gonzalez both lived. It’s that location where authorities are investigating human trafficking, though prosecutors did not identify victims or suspects in charging documents.
Gonzalez started to strike the 18-year-old in the face, leaving her with a swollen eye and facial fractures. When she didn’t comply with getting out of the vehicle, Newkirk also started to beat her.
Prosecutors say the 18-year-old grabbed a pink Ruger gun from a center console, intending to use the gun to either shoot it in the air or strike someone with it. As King started to grab the18-year-old’s feet and pull her from the vehicle the gun went off, and the bullet struck Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was loaded into the vehicle and driven to St. Vincent Healthcare for treatment, which, at that point, the 18-year-old ran away. She was later treated for her injuries at Billings Clinic.
Newkirk was arrested on an unrelated warrant and told the police that two girls “robbed” his car and racked up $1,400 in charges on his credit card.
He also denied any involvement in human trafficking.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News