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Cole County shooting victim dies; boyfriend charged with manslaughter

EDITOR'S NOTE: A name that was misspelled because of a source error has been corrected.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A Jefferson City woman who was left in critical condition after a weekend shooting has died and her shooter has been arrested, the Cole County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.

Hallie Phillips died after being shot Sunday afternoon and hospitalized in critical condition, the sheriff's office said in a news release. Deputies arrested the man who allegedly shot her, Joshua Wilbers, without incident on Tuesday.

Phillips was a junior studying animal sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri.

Wilbers, Phillips's boyfriend, was in the Cole County Jail on Wednesday on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors charged him Wednesday with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action.

Wilbers was jailed without bond. No hearings had been set Wednesday afternoon.

Deputies were sent Sunday to the 9000 block of Century Farms Road for a report of an accidental shooting, where they found Phillips injured. Phillips was lying on the ground unconscious outside the trailer the couple shared, according to a probable cause statement.

Wilbers told investigators that he was going outside to shoot his new .22-caliber rifle when it went off inside the house, hitting Phillips in the face, according to the statement. Wilbers carried her outside meaning to load her in a car and drive to the hospital but decided to call 911 instead, the statement says.

Evidence at the scene and home security video corroborated his story, according to the statement. Phillips died of her injuries Tuesday afternoon at University Hospital.

Former prosecuting attorney Bill Tackett said there could be a case made for upping Wilbers' charges.

"There could be facts that come to light if they had difficulty in their relationship, or some motive comes up because you have a gun going off, six feet away approximately from her head," Tackett said. "While that can happen accidentally, it does cause pause and it's something you'd want to make absolutely sure of. Maybe run it through a grand jury to see if murder in the second degree wouldn't be applicable."

Involuntary manslaughter is a Class C felony, while second-degree murder is a Class A felony. Tackett said this case could potentially go to a grand jury.

Article Topic Follows: Crime
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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.

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