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County prosecutor: No charges in shooting case

Boone County’s lead prosecutor said Tuesday that he will not pursue state charges against a Columbia man who fatally shot another man and claimed self defense.

A federal judge sentenced Ricky Gurley to 24 months in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty in January to being a felon in possesion of a firearm.

A search warrant written by Columbia Police Department detectives claims Gurley shot and killed 28-year-old Cameron Caruthers during a disturbance at a home in the 1300 block of Dawn Ridge Road in May 2017.

Gurley claimed it was self-defense because he feared for his life when Caruthers started arguing with a woman living in the home.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight in a statement sent to media Tuesday detailed the evidence in the case and wrote that he was not filing charges.

The Columbia Police Department did not submit probable cause to show a crime had been committed when Gurley shot Caruthers, Knight wrote.

“Without a probable cause statement in this case, if I wished to pursue charges, my only option would be to present evidence to the grand jury,” Knight wrote. “Since I know charges are not supported by probable cause, it would be unethical for me to pursue the case in this manner.”

Knight said he does not seek convictions in cases “If I am not completely convinced that the person is guilty of the crime.”

“I do not believe Gurley committed a crime when he shot Caruthers, so Gurley will not be charged,” Knight wrote.

Illegal possession of a firearm is a Class C felony that could result in a sentence to 12 to 18 months in prison.

Larry Miller, the attorney representing the United States in the illegal possession case, argued for a stiffer sentence for Gurley. He noted that Gurley’s criminal past was “very, very alarming.”

Members of Caruthers’ family also asked for more time for Gurley because of the grief he caused their family. One family member also mentioned her fear that Gurley may retaliate against their family.

District Judge Brian Wimes said in court Tuesday that he felt the sentencing was respectful of the law and would protect the community from Gurley for the time being.

Gurley has 14 days to file an appeal of the sentence if he feels it’s unfair.

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