Prosecutor: No charge filed in Cameron Caruthers shooting

9 months 1 week 6 days ago Tuesday, May 14 2019 May 14, 2019 Tuesday, May 14, 2019 2:43:00 PM CDT May 14, 2019 in News
By: Sania Blu, KOMU Reporter and Steve Lambson, KOMU 8 News Content Manager
loading

COLUMBIA - Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight announced Tuesday he would not file charges in circuit court against Ricky Gurley for the May 2017 death of Cameron Caruthers.

Knight said Gurley shot Caruthers out of self-defense.

"I looked at all the evidence. I had to focus on the most important evidence which is the evidence relating to what happened right then and there at the time of the shooting. That evidence shows that Ricky Gurley acted in lawful self-defense," Knight said. 

Gurley shot Caruthers at a home on Dawn Ridge Drive in Columbia; witnesses said Caruthers had his hands up and was unarmed when he was shot, but Gurley's attorney said the shooting was justified.

Knight said there weren't any other witnesses at the scene. 

"There are people who would speculate about what might have happened, but they weren't there. We don't have any other information about anyone being inside," he said.

Knight explained the series of events that kept him from filing charges against Gurley.

"Caruthers made a number of different threats. This is all evidence that is there in recordings. Then he came inside the residence according to Kelsy Poore and Ricky Gurley. He physically assaulted Poore. He threatened to kill her," Knight said. 

"Then he turned his attention on Rickey Gurley and approached him in a threatening manner. When Caruthers got really close to Gurley, Gurley shot and killed him with a shotgun. Under the law, Gurley had the right to use deadly force," Knight added. 

A federal grand jury indicted Gurley in November 2017 for possession of a gun by a convicted felon. Gurley pleaded guilty in January 2019, and was sentenced to two years in prison, with credit for time served.

In a letter sent by Knight to Columbia Interim Police Chief Geoff Jones, the prosecutor explained his reasons for not filing charges against Gurley. Knight said he waited until now to make his decision because he didn't want it to affect Gurley's federal case.

Mike Francis remembered his friend, Caruthers, in a phone interview with KOMU 8 News after hearing about Gurley's trial.

"Two years, four years, no amount of time can bring my friend back," said Francis. 

The letter details what happened the night Gurley shot Caruthers and information from Caruthers' autopsy. Gurley said Caruthers threatened and approached him just before the shooting. At the time, Caruthers' girlfriend and her kids were staying with Gurley.

Gurley told police the morning of the shooting, the girlfriend accused Caruthers of taking money from her. Caruthers reportedly wanted to come by the house to get his belongings, but the girlfriend didn't want him to, saying he had been taking methamphetamine. She and Gurley told Caruthers they didn't want him there, but he reportedly said he was coming over anyway.

When he arrived, Gurley said Caruthers threatened to bring members of a prison gang Caruthers was once part of to the home. Caruthers also reportedly threatened to come in the house and kill the girlfriend. At one point, Caruthers left the home, but then came back, according to Gurley. 

When Caruthers came inside the home, Gurley repeatedly told him to leave while Caruthers continued to threaten his girlfriend. When Caruthers came toward Gurley, who had a shotgun, Gurley shot him. Gurley later told police he thought Caruthers would kill him if he managed to get to him.

However, if the case went to trial, Knight said Kelsy Poore would no longer be a credible source. He said her initial police report was that Caruthers threatened and assaulted her, but she later told other people that didn't happen.

"Later on, Kelsy Poore was contacted by other people after she talked to the police, and she said Cameron Caruthers was not threatening at all. That is completely contradicted by these telephone conversations that were recorded where she was actually speaking to him, and he was directly threatening her and threatening Gurley," Knight said.

Regardless of Poore's credibility, Knight said there was consistency between Poore's original police statement and the telephone recordings. Gurley's statement was also consistent with the recordings. This evidence justified Knight's decision against filing charges. 

Knight said police never requested charges against Gurley, and no probable cause statement was ever sent to the prosecutor's office.

He continued on to say Gurley had "amassed many bitter enemies over the years," and that Gurley "made statements before the shooting about wanting to kill someone and scenarios where he could shoot someone inside his residence and be immune to prosecution due to the castle doctrine." But, Knight said Missouri law allows a person to defend themselves, including the use of deadly force in some cases. He wrote "self-defense is measured from the defendant's perspective based on what the defendant could have known at the time." 

Knight concluded the "evidence in this case shows that Gurley had the right to use deadly force" against Caruthers. He added even if the case were to go to trial, it would be impossible for his office to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Most importantly," Knight wrote, "and I can't emphasize this enough, on top of a legal standard of proof, I will not seek a conviction in a case if I am not completely convinced that the person is guilty of the crime... I am well aware that numerous family members and friends of Caruthers' family want me to file charges in this matter. I cannot do so. I must follow the law and abide by my ethical responsibilities."

Knight spoke with Caruthers' father Tuesday afternoon.

"He has a different opinion than I do of the case, but I told him I was very sorry about his loss. We talked for quiet a while," Knight said.

Knight said he is willing to respond to any responses or questions from Caruthers' family or friends about the case, but he stand strong on following the law. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Stephen Sokoloff, a Missouri special prosecutor, has completed his investigation into the Fulton police shooting death of... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 4:51:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating an incident in which a Columbia Police patrol vehicle was struck by... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 4:27:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Before classes had even begun, a judge stood in front of Justin's law school class to tell them... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 3:35:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - Columbia police arrested a man after a stabbing by the Columbia Post Office on Monday. Police arrested... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 3:26:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A new Missouri House bill would prohibit organizations like the NCAA from preventing student-athletes from receiving compensation... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 2:38:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The city's big plans for Columbia Regional Airport (COU) got a shot in the arm Friday with the... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 2:19:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri lawmakers will once again try to pass a bill to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 12:02:00 PM CST February 24, 2020 in News
Anxiety is your body's reaction to stress. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders are the most common type... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 11:28:00 AM CST February 24, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
(CNN) -- Harvey Weinstein was found guilty Monday of committing a criminal sex act in the first degree involving one... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 10:59:00 AM CST February 24, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - House Representatives talked Monday about health care for children who are eligible for the MO HealthNet. ... More >>
1 day ago Monday, February 24 2020 Feb 24, 2020 Monday, February 24, 2020 10:22:00 AM CST February 24, 2020 in News
BRUNSWICK - After a year of record-breaking flooding, neighbors in Brunswick hope they don't see a repeat this summer. ... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 8:22:00 PM CST February 23, 2020 in News
LINN - A lot of the times it's hard to know the affect you'll have on someone until after it's... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 7:08:00 PM CST February 23, 2020 in Sports
BOONVILLE — Community members in Boonville gathered Sunday in support of moving the Boonslick Regional Library (BRL) Cooper County Branch... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 6:15:00 PM CST February 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) will celebrate the 150th anniversary of... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 5:23:00 PM CST February 23, 2020 in News
AP — State attorneys general are finding a national settlement over the toll of opioids to be elusive, as some... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:17:32 AM CST February 23, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Dozens of boy scouts and girl scouts showed up for water safety event at Hickman High School Sunday... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:34:00 AM CST February 23, 2020 in News
SEDALIA — Pettis County prosecutors brought six charges Monday against a Sedalia man. Patrol Commander David Woolery said officers... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 9:25:00 AM CST February 23, 2020 in News
FULTON - Police arrested a 44 year old Fulton man after he attempted to unlawfully enter a home twice, assaulted... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, February 23 2020 Feb 23, 2020 Sunday, February 23, 2020 6:10:00 AM CST February 23, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 31°
5am 30°
6am 30°
7am 29°
8am 31°