Man shot by officer goes on trial
|(IDAHO FALLS, Idaho) -- A man shot by an Idaho Falls police officer in March is on trial on claims he battered his wife and intended to kill an officer.
Charles Pritchard, 39, faces charges of assault with intent to murder a police officer and misdemeanor domestic battery. A jury of five women and seven men began hearing the case Nov. 28 in Idaho Falls.
Bonneville County prosecutors allege Idaho Falls Police officers went to Pritchard's Lindsay Boulevard travel trailer on March 15 to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance.
When they arrived, Pritchard's wife had fled the trailer, prosecutors said. Pritchard came out of the trailer with a loaded revolver and swore at officers before going back into the trailer and coming out with a loaded rifle, prosecutors said.
Prosecutor Kipp Manwaring said Nov. 28 the officers repeatedly told the man to put his gun down. Officer Stephen Avery and Sgt. Darren Cook fired their guns at Pritchard when he came toward Cook and pointed his rifle, prosecutors said. Cook's shot hit Pritchard in the abdomen, while Avery's struck a nearby truck.
Manwaring said the events lasted about 30 minutes.
He characterized the case as a collision course between Cook and Pritchard. He said he will present evidence over the three-day trial that Pritchard had been drinking that day and had been aggressive throughout the day.
Manwaring said Pritchard made several threats to officers on March 15 and that it was clear to officers he wanted a confrontation that night.
"The collision course created by this defendant proves he assaulted Officer Cook with intent to murder," Manwaring said.
Defense attorney Neal Randall contended Manwaring's hypothesis was untrue. He said his client did not know the two were officers because their flashlight beams blinded him.
Randall also questioned if Pritchard's wife had been battered. Prosecutors contend a neighbor saw the man push or hit the woman. Randall said the woman claims to have fallen the night of the shooting and her husband was helping her off the ground.
If found guilty of assault with intent to murder a police officer, Pritchard faces up to life in prison. Domestic battery carries a maximum of one year in jail.
Pritchard is free on bond while his case is pending.
The trial resumes at 9:30 this morning in the Bonneville County Courthouse. District Judge Richard T. St. Clair is presiding over the case.
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