MESA AZ. DEC 21, 2007
An elderly security guard on duty at a mine fired his shotgun and struck a rider on an ATV who was trespassing on the property. In his own words, yes, I shot the man and I’m not sure why he told investigators. On Thursday a jury found him guilty in that shooting but opted to reduce the crime to a lesser charge.
William Lee, of Mesa, could receive four to eight years in prison when he is sentenced next month.
Daniel Ashcroft of Johnson Ranch was riding quads with his wife and a friend when Lee shot him in the chest and he died at the Walker Butte gravel mine in the summer of 2006.Lee’s attorney argued during the weeklong trial that the shooting was an accident, and was not criminal. Lee did not testify.”I’m pleased with how the trial went and I’m pleased with the verdict,” Deputy County Attorney Steve Fuller, who prosecuted the case, commented. “It’s not perfect justice, but I’m generally pleased.
“Lee was actually on trial for manslaughter, but Judge Boyd Johnson instructed jurors that the lesser charge of negligent homicide, a Class 4 dangerous felony, was one of their options.The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning the verdict Friday morning in Pinal County Superior Court.
The seventy year old ex-security guard will return to court after the holidays to learn his fate and start his sentence.
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