Objectively reasonable; that’s how an expert on police tactics described the fatal shooting last year. It’s an opinion, from a witness for the defense which is why prosecutors worked hard Monday to get the jury to disregard it.
Former deputy Daniel Willis sat quietly Monday knowing the people in the jury box will only have one question to answer. Did he commit murder? Defense attorney Robert McCabe says they will not ask to have any lesser charge added to the deliberation process.
"All or nothing they chose to over charge him with the offense of murder and they are stuck with that,” said McCabe.
The case stems from a domestic disturbance call that Willis was sent to in the early morning hours of February 16, 2014. Amy Vela had called 911 to report her boyfriend, Chris Thomas, and his father were fighting.
Later Vela reported Yvette Smith, the girlfriend of the father, was struggling with Chris Thomas over a gun. The situation escalated after Willis arrived and Vela made this statement to the Dispatcher;
"He loaded the gun, he loaded the gun, and he loaded the gun. Dispatcher: he loaded the gun, ok.”
The dispatcher relayed that info to Willis and as well as a report that a gunman was behind the front door. An update that Smith had gotten the gun away from Thomas was not passed on to Willis. Believing Smith was armed and making threatening moves as she went to the front door Willis fired two shots from his AR-15.
One shot proved fatal. Tim Ryle a defense expert on police tactics testified. The case was "tragic" but the decision to use deadly force was "justified." Ryle also testified that the investigation into the shooting was flawed and based on misinformation that was passed on by Willis’ supervisors who arrived on the scene after the shooting.
Closing Arguments are expected later Tuesday.