The trial of a western Iowa lawman is expected to go to the jury today (Friday) after the prosecution rested its case Thursday. Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Butler is charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting and killing Dwayne Jens of rural Hancock after a high-speed chase on December 30th. The next-to-last witness called by the prosecution was Philip Corrigan, a retired Tucson, Arizona, police officer. Corrigan lives in Minnesota and is a police trainer. He said Butler’s approach to the situation was wrong and that Butler should have waited for backup to arrive before approaching the Jens’ truck. Corrigan says he feels Butler appeared to be “rushing the vehicle.” Corrigan said he feels if Butler was going to approach the vehicle, he should have done so from behind, instead of running in at a right angle to the drivers’-side door. Corrigan also criticized Butler for approaching the vehicle with two weapons – a gun in his left hand and a baton in his right hand. On cross-examination, the defense played a video of Pottawattamie County Deputy Brian Loomis being shot. Loomis is the deputy who was shot during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 last November. The defense asked Corrigan to critique the approach Loomis used to the situation, as Loomis did approach the suspect’s car from behind, which Corrigan says is proper. The defense pointed out that even though Loomis went “by the book,” he was still shot. The defense started calling witnesses Thursday, including Butler himself. Butler testified that as he was approaching Jens’ vehicle, he thought he saw Jens reaching for something on the floor of the vehicle. He said as he broke the window the driver’s arm was coming up rapidly, “I believe that the driver has a weapon in his hand. And I believe at that point that if I don’t fire, that he is going to fire upon me. And I fire one round from my weapon striking the driver in the head.” Butler’s attorney, Lori Falk-Goss, asked him what was going through his mind as he fired the shot. He said, “I’m thinking that he’s bringing a weapon up and he is going to fire at me, and if I don’t fire, I’m going to be shot.” Butler said that he feels “terrible about the loss of life” but would not change his actions if he had to relive it all. “But if everything happened exactly the way it did that night where I was faced with the same threatening movement, yes, I would have still fired my weapon,” he said.
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