77
      Thursday
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      Friday
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      Panel clears a Missouri sheriff in fatal shooting

      AVA, Mo. (AP) -- A coroner's jury has found that a southwest Missouri sheriff's fatal shooting of a man whose companion he was trying to arrest was justifiable homicide.

      KYTV reports Tuesday's verdict leaves it up to the Douglas County prosecutor to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Sheriff Chris Degase (dee-GAYZ').

      Degase shot 41-year-old David Phillips, of Hillsdale, Ill., on Aug. 30 along a rural road. The sheriff said he was trying to arrest a woman with Phillips on drug charges when Phillips attacked him with some kind of weapon.

      Missouri Highway Patrol investigators later said the weapon was a large pair of pliers.

      The six-member coroner's jury heard from several witnesses and deliberated about 30 minutes before returning its verdict.

      Degase was re-elected Douglas County sheriff earlier this month.

      (Information in the following story is from: KYTV-TV, http://www.ky3.com)