A man was found guilty Monday in the fatal shooting of a West Virginia police officer who had responded to a parking complaint in 2020.
A Kanawha County jury announced the verdict on a second-degree murder charge following three days of deliberations in the trial of Joshua Phillips. He originally was charged with first-degree murder.
The jury also found Phillips guilty of simple possession of a controlled substance, news outlets reported.
Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson, 28, died after being shot in the neck in Dec. 2020. According to a police complaint, a resident had said that Phillips, of Charleston, parked his sport utility vehicle on her property.
Prosecutors said Johnson was worried about her safety because Phillips had pulled a gun, prevented Johnson from getting to her service revolver and struggled with her before shots were fired. According to testimony at the trial, Phillips fired six shots.
In response to the verdict, Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said her thoughts were with Johnson’s family.
“Since the moment when I arrived at the hospital the evening that Patrol Officer Cassie Johnson was fatally shot, my heart has been with Cassie’s mom, Sheryl; her sister, Chelsea; and her brothers and sisters in blue at the Charleston Police Department,” Goodwin said in a news release. “It has been a painful journey – not only for Cassie’s family and friends – but also for our community. While this was not the verdict we had hoped for, I hope today’s decision by the jury brings some level of peace and closure.”
Charleston Chief of Police Tyke Hunt said it was not the verdict he wanted, but that he would continue to have faith in the justice system.
“While there’s nothing we can do to bring back a fallen sister, her death will not be in vain. The officers of the Charleston Police Department will work to uphold her memory in the job she so dearly loved,” he said.