Yellowstone County judge hears final case, looks ahead at “new chapter”

BILLINGS – Yellowstone County District Judge Russell Fagg heard his last case Tuesday before hanging up his robe after 22 years on the bench.

Fagg estimated that he’s presided over 25,000 cases, but one stands out in his mind.

The year was 1996 and the defendant Gino Gonzalez, who was 17 at the time.

“He killed a Kwik Way clerk and it was all recorded,” said Fagg. “He had already gotten the money and all he had to do was leave. You see him pull the trigger and the safety is on. So you see him flip the safety and pull the trigger and shoot the clerk for no reason. So I sentenced him to life in prison and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”