Three felonies dismissed against Marshall man accused of trying to kill officer

Carl Clayton Roettgen pleaded guilty Monday to resisting arrest by fleeing when he was spotted in the Marshall Wal-Mart parking lot on the evening of May 18, 2015. File photo.

A Marshall man will not be charged with three felonies accusing him of attempting to kill a Marshall police officer while police attempted to arrest him for parole violation last year because prosecutors say the charges were based on lies.

Carl Clayton Roettgen pleaded guilty Monday to resisting arrest by fleeing when he was being arrested on the evening of May 18, 2015. The felonies of Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer, Armed Criminal Action, and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm were dropped.

Last may, police spotted Roettgen, who was wanted for parole violation, in the parking lot of the Marshall Walmart. Officers blocked Roettgen's car from behind, but while they were trying to make contact, Roettgen put his car in gear, tried to flee, and in the process almost ran over some officers. At the time, officer Tyler Newell said he jumped in to the passenger side of Roettgen's car in an attempt to put the car in park and take the keys, but Roettgen pulled a gun, pointed it at the officer's head, and pulled the trigger. The gun did not go off, according to Newell, and he was able to get out of the car and return fire, shooting one round into the vehicle. Officer Joshua O'Brien corroborated his story.

However, surveillance video from the Walmart contradicts that story. Saline County prosecutor Don Stouffer said in a statement that after "trying to reconcile the video with the two officers' statements, and consulting with staff, I reached the difficult conclusion that no reasonable juror could find the officers' accounts credible."

Roettgen's defense attorney, John James, went further. "Mr. Newell made up the story to cover himself for illegally discharging his weapon." James said "Officer Newell tried to shoot him in a crowded parking lot," noting that the videotape shows passersby in the vicinity when Newell discharged his gun.

James also commended prosecuting attorney Stouffer. "What he did was not the easy thing, it was the right thing." He said the officers involved and the Marshall police department "did everything they could to protect that lie," and "tried to send a man to prison for the rest of his life."

Stouffer, in his statement, said shortly after the video evidence was obtained, he consulted a police department commanding officer familiar with the case, who at that time told him the officers' statements were "questionable at best."

James said he is contemplating suing the two officers and possibly the department for malicious prosecution, but that that decision may take some time. "We have two-to-five years to decide," he said.

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