GRANGEVILLE – With his felony case now bound over to district court, Billy J. Ellenberg remains in jail, awaiting trial this spring on the charge he shot fellow Kamiah resident, Joshua B. Anderberg, early last month concerning a matter of stolen tools.
Ellenberg, 52, was arraigned in district court on Monday, Feb. 2, on a charge of aggravated battery with an enhancement of use of a deadly weapon in commission of a felony. Bail for Ellenberg remains set at $50,000. Trial is set for April 29.
Anderberg, 31, is recovering from his injuries with family in Kooskia following his release last Wednesday, Jan. 28, from treatment at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Two witnesses – Idaho County Sheriff’s Corporal Tom Remington and Anderberg – testified in a one-and-a-half-hour preliminary hearing last Friday, Jan. 30, before Magistrate Judge Jeff Payne. From statements taken by Remington of Ellenberg’s account versus Anderberg’s recollections, two contradictory stories emerged as to who initiated the aggressive behavior that led to the Jan. 4 shooting
“He [Ellenberg] told me that he’d discovered Mr. Anderberg had stolen thousands of dollars of his tools,” said Cpl. Remington, during an initial interview at the scene. “When Mr. Ellenberg confronted him, Mr. Anderberg attacked him in the camper and began to choke him out.”
Remington was the first law enforcement officer on the scene at 344 Woodland Road, dispatched initially at 5:55 p.m. to a report by Ellenberg’s sister, Clara Ellenberg, that Billy had Anderberg at gunpoint concerning a burglary, followed four minutes later with a call that Anderberg had been shot.
Ellenberg admitted to shooting Anderberg with a .357 Ruger handgun, according to Remington. Ellenberg explained he had been told by an individual, Weldon Lamar, that Anderberg was in possession of Ellenberg’s tools, and he went to a camp trailer on the property rented by Alfred McClure, where Anderberg was at, and talked with McClure on which of the two should confront him about the matter. Ellenberg then went in the trailer where he said Anderberg attacked him, putting his forearm against his throat to choke him.
“Shortly before he felt he was blacking out, he shot,” Remington said, of Ellenberg’s statement to him, “in the gut or chest, he was unsure,” and pushed Anderberg away from him. Ellenberg then believes he gave the gun to Clara’s son, Matt, who took it to Clara’s residence on the property where it was later recovered.
Attending the hearing, supported by a rolling walker, Anderberg testified he and Ellenberg had been friends for just less than a year, that he had been renting a trailer on the property until he was unable to pay the bills and, due to the cold, Ellenberg invited him and his two children, ages 3 and 4, to stay at his residence.
On Jan. 4, Anderberg’s pickup went missing, and according to Anderberg, Ellenberg told him Lamar – McClure’s cousin — had allegedly taken it. Anderberg walked down to talk with McClure about it, accompanied by Ellenberg, prior to which he witnessed Ellenberg take a handgun off the freezer and put it in his waistband. Anderberg went in the trailer where McClure and his girlfriend, and Anderberg’s children, were in the main living area; Ellenberg remained outside. He said Ellenberg got McClure’s attention and the pair talked outside, after which McClure came in and said Ellenberg was upset concerning some missing tools.
“I walked over toward Billy and I started to say two or three words,” Anderberg said, when Ellenberg said a few words of profanity, “and he pulled a gun out from his waistband, stuck it in my stomach, tilted it up and pulled the trigger.”
Law enforcement reported the bullet went into Anderberg’s right abdomen and exited out the right shoulder. Anderberg said he got “instantly cold, started sweating bad,” and he heard his son behind him yelling, “Daddy’s been shot, daddy’s been shot.”
Questioned by Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor on whether he was combative or attacked Ellenberg, Anderberg denied that, saying “My children were right there for one thing. And he’s packing. I wasn’t trying to start anything.” He couldn’t see the handgun: “He had his shirt over it, but to my knowledge he still had it on him.”
As he sat slumped over in the trailer’s doorway, Anderberg said he saw Ellenberg outside, testifying that, “he saw me and started cussing at me and drew his weapon again, and I ducked in the camper.”
Following the incident, Anderberg was transported to Harborview for treatment, and was released last week. He testified that he currently suffers an “extreme amount of pain, it’s hard to walk, hard to breathe,” and as a result of the shooting he lost his spleen.
Ellenberg is being represented by Moscow attorney Charles Kovis.