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Thursday, July 13, 2006

at least the system worked..in the end

Ugh. I woke up this morning and decided to forgo just study at home, but instead I ended up watching this trial unfold (not live) on Court TV.

BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. — Jurors have found a small-town police chief not guilty of attempted murder after he allegedly tried to shoot a man he mistook for a violent criminal.

The 12-person panel acquitted Matthew Hoskins, 35, of attempted murder and two counts of reckless endangerment after deliberating for about two hours Thursday.

Hoskins, who faced up to 95 years in prison if convicted, wept after Judge John Damon read the jury's decision, and the gallery erupted in applause.

The charges stemmed from a Sept. 27, 2003, incident in which Hoskins confronted a neighbor he thought was armed and dangerous.

But the police chief had misinterpreted John Ellingson's attempt to scare away teenage pranksters coming to toilet-paper his house by rigging his yard with noisemakers that sounded like gunfire.

When Ellingson's booby traps went off and sent the teens screaming down the street, Hoskins grabbed his girlfriend's handgun and went to investigate.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Barbara Oswald said Hoskins mistook Ellingson's 17-year-old daughter Melissa as a criminal, and overreacted when he tried to subdue her in the street.

That mistake, she said, spurred a scuffle that led to three shots being fired.

Um? So you're an off-duty cop. It's nighttime. It's dark. You hear sounds like shotguns going off and screaming and figures running and in the middle of it all someone yells, "Call 911." You come upon someone, pointing your gun at them and order them to get on the ground which they refuse. Another figure comes up and attacks you, you scuffle, you break-free and you point your gun at him. He says you pulled the trigger but "dry-fired" and you say you didn't pull the trigger at all. A prosecution expert can only say they can't "rule out" that the gun dry-fired.

Sounds like an off-duty cop who's training kicked in to me. And let's be honest, thoise "noisemakers"? They were actually blank shot-gun shells. Why the hell did they put this poor guy through all of this crap? The homeowner, the adult, should have known better than to join into a bunch of kids stupid high school pranks. Get those motion-detecting lights, you jerk. Those tend to keep pranksters from TP-ing your house.

I'm very upset for the defendant. The "victims" in this case were not "victims" at all but were actually the instigators.

EDIT: Just found out from more Court TV commentary that the "victim" Ellingson is a high level city official. Hm. Gee. So I guess this high level city official feels like a jackass cause he nearly got himself killed playing pranks with his teenage children so he decides to go after the poor honest cop who thought he was trying to save people.

wingless was still breathing at 10:58 AM -

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