Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. - A Montana prosecutor has filed charges against a hitchhiker who authorities say shot himself in the arm on the side of a remote highway in northeastern Montana and then claimed to be the victim of a drive-by shooting.
The charging documents released Thursday represent the latest chapter in the bizarre story of a struggling photographer who claimed to be randomly shot while traveling the country to put together a book on the kindness of strangers. The new filings reveal that Ray Dolin allegedly told authorities that the shooting was an attempted suicide.
Valley County Attorney Nickolas Murnion charged Dolin, 39, of Julian, W.V., with tampering or fabricating physical evidence, false reports to law enforcement authorities and obstructing a police officer. The evidence tampering charge, the most serious, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine if convicted.
Dolin originally told police that he had stopped to eat on the side of Highway 2 outside Glasgow on June 9 when a maroon pickup truck pulled up with a driver and passenger inside. He said the driver shot him once and drove off.
Dolin, bleeding from the arm, flagged down a passer-by, who called 911.
Investigators later arrested a Washington state man driving a truck that matched the description provided by Dolin.
Dolin could not identify the man or his truck in photo-lineups. Investigators then analyzed the GPS device in the man's truck and concluded that he had not been in the area at the time of the 911 call to report the shooting, according to Murnion's charging documents.
Investigators went back to the scene of the shooting and discovered a pistol 68 feet away that was registered to Dolin.