Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Judge overturns murder conviction of man accused of killing Cedar County Sheriffs Deputy

Joshua Brown
STOCKTON, Mo. A Greene County judge has overturned a jury's murder conviction in the shooting death of a Cedar County deputy in November 2014. 

In May, a Greene County jury found Joshua Brown guilty of four counts of second-degree murder in the death of deputy Matthew Chism. The jury also found him guilty of possessing methamphetamine, tampering with physical evidence, and hindering prosecution. It took the jury just 15 minutes to deliberate a decision. Brown waived his right to have a jury recommend a sentence. 

According to court documents, Brown was the driver of a car, and William Collins was his passenger. Deputy Matthew Chism pulled the vehicle over in El Dorado Springs for driving without headlights. The car sped off, and a pursuit ensued. Collins soon jumped out of the speeding car and ran. Deputy Chism stopped and chased after him. The two began to struggle. Shots were fired. Collins was killed. Chism was also shot. He later died at the hospital. Brown was found later at a nearby home. He was charged with second degree murder in Deputy Chism's death, despite prosecutors acknowledging he did not pull the trigger.

The Cedar County prosecutor says Judge Holden stated he believed Brown should have never been charged with felony murder for his involvement in the death of Deputy Chism. Furthermore, the judge gave his opinion Deputy Matthew Chism was not following proper police procedure when he gave chase to passenger William Collins as he fled the vehicle involved in a police pursuit. Judge Holden stated the deputy had no probable cause to believe Collins, who subsequently killed Deputy Chism, was guilty of committing a crime, since the police pursuit began as a traffic stop.

"Judge Calvin Holden’s decision is incorrect, ignores the law and the facts, and improperly sets aside the decision of the jury," said Cedar County prosecutor Ty Gaither. "Judge Holden’s decision will be appealed to the Southern District Court of Appeals."

Brown will serve 10 years in prison on the drug offenses in this case as a prior offender.