Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy

The deputy survived a gunshot wound
Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy
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KOAM's Zach Dodge is in the courtroom as the trial of E.F. Fitchpatrick, Jr. gets underway (July 22, 2019)

Update: The jury heard opening statements today and from several members of law enforcement.

The defense is arguing that Fitchpatrick didn’t know the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team members were law enforcement and that the members didn’t identify themselves as law enforcement. Because of this, the defense says Fitchpatrick acted in self-defense thinking deputies were members of a local gang.

The prosecution argues that the shooting was completely unjustified. Prosecution says law enforcement did announce who they were.

Prosecution called five witnesses to the stand, including the shooting victim, Nolan Murray. They showed photos of Murray’s police vest and entered the search warrant into evidence.

The court recessed for the day at 4:40 pm. The trial will resume at 9:00 am tomorrow.

KOAM Reporter Zach Dodge is in the courtroom for the trial of E.F. Fitchpatrick, Jr., the man accused of shooting Deputy Nolan Murray in 2017. Murray survived.

The defense and prosecuting attorneys began questioning potential jury members this morning. Jury selection began after noon and was done by 1:05 pm.

Fitchpatrick is charged with first degree assault, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The crime happened on March 1st, 2017 at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites at 3510 South Range Line Road in Joplin, Missouri.

Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy

The Ozark Drug Enforcement Team was serving a search warrant at the hotel. As officers tried to make entry into the second floor room 222, a gunshot was fired from the room through a window. One shot hit Jasper County Deputy Nolan Murray. Murray was wearing a bullet proof vest. He was hit in the chest and taken by EMS to Freeman Hospital.

Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy

Officers with the Joplin Police Department arrived and a SWAT operation was activated. Authorities say after failed attempts to get into contact with the suspect in the room, officers deployed chemical munitions into the room.

E.F. Fitchpatrick, Jr, of St. Louis, exited the room and was arrested and taken to Mercy Hospital by EMS. Authorities say he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face.

Officers say Fitchpatrick was the only occupant in the room and there was only one exit from the room.

No drugs were found in the room, however, officers did find scales and baggies.

Assistance at the scene was provided by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Duquesne Police Department, Webb City Police Department, Carthage Police Department, METS, Newton County EMS, Joplin Fire and MoDOT.

On March 2nd, 2017, the Newton County Prosecutor filed charges of first degree assault, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm against Fitchpatrick.

Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy

Authorities say it was unlawful for Fitchpatrick to have a firearm because he is a convicted felon with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Fitchpatrick has a criminal history that dates back more than 20 years, putting him in prison more than once. He has previously been convicted for such crimes as heroin, burglary, and possession of an illegal weapon.

Trial underway for man accused of shooting a Jasper County Deputy

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