A Boone County jury deliberated for about an hour on Thursday afternoon before convicting a Fulton man of second degree murder for the 2019 death of a drug dealer near Calwood.
The case was moved from Callaway to Boone County on a change of venue, and 939 the Eagle was at the Boone County Courthouse for closing arguments. There was tight security in the courtroom, with Callaway County Sheriff Clay Chism and a number of his deputies in the courtroom, along with bailiffs.
Callaway County Prosecutor Christopher Wilson told jurors that 50-year-old Justin Witt is a convicted felon who legally cannot have a gun, and that he wanted to get high that night. Defense attorneys argued self-defense.
Testimony indicated Witt and two other men planned to purchase meth from Nathan Pritchett Jr. in a church parking lot, before Pritchett changed the location to a more remote area. Public defender Kathryn Benson told the jury that Witt used counterfeit money written in Chinese to purchase the meth, and that Pritchett recognized it was counterfeit and told the men he “would kill all you mother f——” and allegedly pointed a gun just three feet away from Witt.
Prosecutors say it was a toy gun, but the defense says Witt feared for his life.
Judge Kevin Crane has scheduled sentencing for June 13.