Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen announced Thursday afternoon that he would not pursue criminal charges against a Toutle teenager in the March 8 shooting of 36-year-old Casey John Hall.
In a two-page announcement, Jurvakainen provided his legal analysis for not filing criminal charges and offered new details that pieced together the circumstances that led to the shooting.
According to Jurvakainen, not only would county prosecutors have to prove all elements that a murder occurred beyond a reasonable doubt, but also disprove a possible defense argument that it was a justifiable homicide because the youth was home alone when Hall trespassed on his parents’ rural property.
“The evidence presented here is insufficient for the state to meet this burden of proof,” Jurvakainen wrote.
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The announcement disclosed that it took police a half-hour to respond to the Toutle home and that the teenager saw Hall “screaming, running laps, and harassing dogs in a kennel” in his yard on Spirit Lake Highway.
In a summary of evidence, Jurvakainen wrote that Hall began yelling and moving toward the teen, who was inside his home and was watching Hall through an open window.
The teen told Hall to “get off his property,” as Hall proceeded, the teenager fired a warning shot with a revolver and told Hall if he crossed his driveway, he would shoot him, Jurvakainen said.
Hall continued walking toward the teen in the window. Hall told the teen that the property belonged to him, to hand over his handgun, and requested a glass of water, according to the summary of evidence.
The teen handed Hall a glass of water, which Hall poured onto the ground. He then ordered the juvenile to hand over the gun so he could “off” him. The teenager elected to shoot Hall in the chest instead and call the police, Jurvakainen said.
That the teenager asked Hall to leave, fired a warning shot and offered a glass of water demonstrated an attempt of de-escalation, Jurvakainen wrote. Plus, Hall’s trespassing and threats made it reasonable for the 17-year-old to view Hall as an “imminent danger.”
Because of these facts, Jurvakainen said he “would not be able to disprove justifiable homicide beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Hope Wagoner, Hall’s legal representative, told The Daily News, “I’m really disappointed by the decision the prosecutors made with this case.”
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