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Judge Urges Prosecution to Appeal Dismissal of Murder Charge

by Douglas Ankney


After a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, Judge Catherine Wilking of Natrona County, Wyoming, dismissed a first-degree murder charge against Jason T. John. During the hearing, and at its conclusion, Wilking urged that her decision be appealed.

In July of this year, Wyoming’s “stand your ground” law took effect. Under the law, a person has no obligation to retreat and may use lethal force to defend himself as long as he is where he is legally allowed to be, is not breaking any laws, and is not the initial aggressor. It appears the law requires a pretrial hearing to determine if the prosecution can go forward.

At the hearing, Detective Anthony Stedellie testified for the prosecution that John and Wesley Willow, Jr. were disputing over a woman who had dated both men. He said John shot Willow nine times with an AR-15. Since some of the rounds hit Willow in the back and in the back of his head, it was likely John shot Willow as he lay face down on the ground.

On cross-examination, Stedellie testified that Willow threatened over the telephone to beat up John about 30 minutes before arriving at John’s trailer home. As Willow ran toward the home, John warned him not to enter before shooting him.

Wilking found that John warned Willow to stay back, but he entered John’s home. Willow was the instigator, and John had no duty to retreat. Thus, she dismissed the charge.

Source: trib.com

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