The son of Christian County’s presiding commissioner had his first-degree assault charge dismissed last week.
A prosecutor said Nathan Weter was justified in using deadly force when he shot a man three times during a daytime altercation last year.
The shooting took place the afternoon of April 12, 2017, near the intersection of Fremont Road and Westwind Drive.
Christian County sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene that day.
The incident report said the investigation was turned over to Sgt. Dan Nash of the Missouri State Highway Patrol the day of the shooting.
Weter was not identified as the shooter until three months later, when he was indicted by a grand jury in Christian County.
After requesting a mug shot of Weter, the News-Leader was told Weter was booked into jail, but the Christian County Sheriff’s Office did not have a mug shot – either because the equipment wasn’t working or because his photograph was never taken.
A special prosecutor, Stone County Prosecutor Matt Selby, handled the case.
Selby confirmed that he was appointed to work the case because Weter was the son of Christian County’s presiding commissioner.
Selby eventually dismissed the indictment after reviewing the case and sent the shooting victim a letter last week.
Selby provided that letter to the News-Leader, which named the victim as 37-year-old Ryan Howard.
According to the letter, Howard spent months recovering from being shot three times by Weter and spent a “considerable period of time” in the hospital.
Selby wrote that he reviewed crime scene evidence, witness interviews and surveillance footage captured by a nearby home’s security camera.
The footage showed Howard standing at the edge of the road for several minutes as cars passed by, the letter said.
Several people called 911 concerned that Howard would be struck by a passing car, according to the letter.
Weter can be seen on surveillance driving past Howard, the letter said, then returning to the scene.
“(Weter) gets out of his car, walks over and talk to you, obviously trying to help,” Selby wrote. “He then goes back to his pickup, gets his handgun, puts it in his pocket, and then goes back over to where you are. He appears to continue to talk to you and tries to direct traffic.”
According to the letter, the surveillance footage has no sound and multiple blank spots, or “skips.”
There is a skip in the footage, the letter said, and Weter is seen standing next to Howard.
Then there’s another skip.
“The next thing on the video is you and Mr. Weter on the ground struggling and fighting,” the letter said. “You are able to get up but then continue to attack Mr. Weter. After about a minute he pulls his gun out and shoots you.”
The letter said it’s not clear what prompted the fight.
“It is clear that one point you repeatedly attacked him and that there were other people present in close proximity,” Selby wrote.
According to the letter, the evidence showed Weter was acting in self-defense and was justified in using deadly force.
“I believe that evidence at trial would show that you made statements prior to the shooting that you had a gun, that there was something in your pocket that could have been construed as appearing to be a weapon, that both before and after you were shot you made statements about killing somebody, and that you acted in an aggressive manner towards Mr. Weter and others,” Selby wrote.
Weter’s attorney, Stacie Bilyeu, said dismissing the charges was the right thing to do.
“I was always firmly convinced Nathan (Weter) was innocent,” Bilyeu said. “We’re very pleased with Mr. Selby’s decision to dismiss the case.”
Bilyeu said the legal process has been difficult on Weter, and he’s glad he put it behind him.
She said Weter’s father, Ray, being the presiding commissioner of Christian County played no part in the dismissal of the case.
“Being the son of someone well-known cuts both ways,” Bilyeu said. “Sometimes those cases might be more likely to get charged.”
The News-Leader was unable to contact Howard.
(story shared by the Springfield News-Leader. Read the original article here)