A Vermont state trooper has been
cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect.
Prosecutors say Trooper Dustin
Robinson reasonably believed he was in mortal danger, and so he was justified
in shooting Jonathan Martel.
The trooper chased Martel into the
woods in Cambridge, ordering him to surrender. But Robinson says Martel turned
and pointed a metallic object at him that Robinson believed was a gun. The
trooper fired seven times, striking Martel with a lethal shot. The trooper then
discovered the object Martel was holding was only a cellphone, not a gun, at
which point Martel reportedly told the trooper he pointed the phone like a gun
because he wanted to die.
"It was clear from
the shooting that this was essentially a suicide by cop situation,"
Lamoille County State's Attorney Joel Page said. "Here we had consistent
evidence from all the officers and all the lay witnesses and all the family.
There were no inconsistencies."
Investigators say interviews with family
members revealed Martel had a serious drug problem, and had recently broken up
with his girlfriend, lost his job and had threatened suicide.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:41:56 GMT
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