Sep. 23—Former Wolfe City Police Department officer Shaun Lucas was found not guilty Thursday of murder in the death of Jonathan Price.
The jury in the 354th District Courtroom returned with the verdict Thursday evening after more than five hours of deliberations.
The decision brought a sudden close to a week-long trial and two years of prosecution in the controversial case.
Lucas, 24, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder in connection with the shooting death of the unarmed Price, 31, on the night of Oct. 3, 2020. Lucas was responding to a disturbance at a Wolfe City convenience store.
Lucas' attorneys maintain that he shot Price in self-defense after Price, who appeared to be intoxicated, refused to comply with Lucas and attempted to grab the officer's Taser.
During closing arguments Thursday morning lead defense counsel Robert Rogers claimed Lucas had no choice.
"Because he was terrified," Rogers said. "That's the only reason he fired his gun."
But First Assistant District Attorney Steven Lilley reminded jurors that 11 witnesses who were on the scene that night all said Price was not being angry or aggressive in reacting to Lucas and that three law enforcement officers, including the Texas Ranger investigating the incident and a sergeant with the Wolfe City Police Department who was also there, testified that Lucas had no cause to use deadly force against Price.
"He's dead. He was killed that night," Lilley said of Price. "If it wasn't necessary; it was murder. Go back and find him guilty."
The trial in the 354th District Court began with jury selection on Sept. 12. The jury received the case to begin deliberations shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday and returned at around 5:30 p.m.