Jurors in Grand Junction have acquitted a state trooper of four charges and have deadlocked on two other counts stemming from the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect.
The Daily Sentinel
reported that jurors acquitted Ivan "Gene" Lawyer on Thursday of criminally negligent homicide, first-degree criminal trespass, prohibited use of a weapon and criminal mischief in the 2010 shooting that killed 31-year-old Jason Kemp. Jurors were hung on charges of second-degree assault and illegal discharge of a firearm.
Lawyer and State Patrol Cpl. Kirk Firko had gone to Kemp's home while investigating a non-injury traffic accident.
Kemp was fatally shot in the doorway of his home at 103 Glade Park Road after Lawyer repeatedly kicked at Kemp's front door.
Authorities say Kemp struggled with the officers at his door.
Lawyer said he saw Kemp raise his arm and thought Kemp had a weapon when he shot at him.
Prosecutors argued Lawyer's and Firko's repeated kicks on the front door, and eventual entry into the home, represented a violation of Kemps Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful, warrantless search and seizure, the Sentinel reported.
Lawyer's defense attorney, however, said the trooper's actions were within the scope of his duties as a law enforcement officer and consistent with his State Patrol training.
Firko is scheduled for trial July 16.
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