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A Longview man has reversed his not guilty plea in December’s non-fatal shooting in Longview’s Old West Side neighborhood, but he maintains that he did it at the victim’s request.

Joel Williams, 39, originally pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. Police arrested him on suspicion of shooting another man in both legs in an alley near the intersection of 24th Avenue and Louisiana Street on Dec. 26.

When arrested in January, Williams told police that the victim, 38-year-old Dustin Hurliman, had asked Williams to shoot him in order to avoid going to jail. He claimed Hurliman gave him the pistol used in the shooting and was “desperate” to avoid going to court, according to police records. Williams said he visited Hurliman on Jan. 15 to return the pistol.

Hurliman denied William’s version of events and told police that he did not know who shot him.

On Thursday, Williams pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree assault. In his guilty statement, Williams wrote that he “intentionally assaulted Dustin Hurlimann with a deadly weapon, a firearm, upon his request.”

The Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to further reduce William’s sentence to a third-degree assault charge as long as Williams participates in a trial that Hurliman is now facing.

Hurliman is charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm on Dec. 26 and Jan. 16, the day Williams admitted to shooting him and the day after Williams said he returned the gun.

Hurliman is accused of illegally possessing the same kind of firearm in December that Williams said he shot him with: a .22 caliber handgun.

Hurliman has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is set to be tried by jury in April.

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