Criminal charge dismissed against former Missouri officer after victim and shooter meet

St. Louis News

CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will dismiss its criminal charge against Julia Crews, 39, at the request of her victim, Ashley Fountain-Hall.

On April 23, 2019, Ladue Police Officer Julia Crews shot Fountain-Hall after she was suspected of shoplifting at the Ladue Crossing Schnucks.

Officer Julia Crews, seen here during a March 2017 interview.

Crews was charged with second-degree assault after shooting Hall. Her attorney said she meant to use her Taser but drew her gun instead. Crews resigned from the department days after being charged. The city of Ladue agreed to pay $2 million in 2020 to settle a federal lawsuit filed by a Fountain-Hall.

Hall was eventually cleared from any wrongdoing after providing receipts and authorities determined she wasn’t shoplifting.

Both Crews and Fountain-Hall voluntarily participated in a Restorative Justice mediation on Nov. 5, 2021. They worked with people in the community affected by crime and to come to a resolution with the help of mediator Seema Gajwani, chief of the Restorative Justice program for D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who volunteered her services.

“I met with Ashley myself to make certain that she not only understood this but she wanted to do it, and that’s what she wanted do,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. said. “People have to understand that we could have forced her to come in and testify relive the trauma of this during a trial this is what she wanted to do.”

Hall’s attorney, William Holland, said his client agreed that charges in the shooting should be dismissed against the officer.

“Bell’s office approached about the Restorative Justice program as opposed to prison time for the police officer,” Holland said. “Ashley has always felt prison time was not appropriate in this case and that she forgave the officer for what she did. The Restorative Justice process allowed both of them to talk it out, hug it out, and move past it.”

November 5 restorative justice mediation
Clockwise top left: Wesley Bell, Lisa Jones, Julia Crews, Ashley Fountain Hall, Seema Gajwani

Attorney Travis Nobel, who represents Crews, said this was a unique opportunity where she immediately realized she had made a terrible mistake in shooting the victim.

“It was a good process all the way around. It allowed both sides to come together,” he said. “Crews has always maintained she did not mean to shoot Ashley, that it was an accident and the two were able to talk and hash it out. By the end of the phone call they were telling each other they love each other.”

Bell said both the defendant and victim reached places where they could see a resolution for this incident outside of the criminal justice process.

“Shortly after this incident took place, the victim in the case actually went public in forgiving Julia. We did not prompt that, we did not know she was going to do an interview, and that presented an opportunity,” he said. “We reached out to her and her attorneys and presented this to them, because Restorative Justice is for the victim, if a victim does not want to do it, it’s not happening.” 

Attorneys said the decision to dismiss the criminal case had nothing to do with the 2020 settlement.

Hall hopes she can move forward and put the incident behind her as she continues to try and recover from her injuries.

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