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West Virginia jury convicts man in officer’s fatal shooting

June 13, 2022 GMT

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A man was found guilty Monday in the fatal shooting of a West Virginia police officer who had responded to a parking complaint.

A Kanawha County jury announced the verdict on a second-degree murder charge following three days of deliberations in the trial of Joshua Phillips. He originally was charged with first-degree murder. The jury also found Phillips guilty of simple possession of a controlled substance, news outlets reported.

Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson, 28, died after being shot in the neck in December 2020. According to a police complaint, a resident had said that Phillips, of Charleston, parked his sport utility vehicle on her property.

Prosecutors said Johnson was worried about her safety because Phillips had pulled a gun, prevented Johnson from getting to her service revolver and struggled with her before shots were fired. According to testimony at the trial, Phillips fired six shots.

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No sentencing date was immediately set. Phillips faces up to 40 years in prison.

“This is not the verdict we wanted. However, the jury made their decision and we must have faith in our justice system,” Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt said in a statement. “While there’s nothing we can do to bring back a fallen sister, her death will not be in vain. The officers of the Charleston Police Department will work to uphold her memory in the job she so dearly loved.”