Prosecutor: Video was key in proving trooper’s story about Middletown shooting incident

A Butler County grand jury declined to indict an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper for a shooting in Middletown last month.

Trooper Michael Williams shot Devon Marion, 22 of Middletown, twice on Aug. 15 after a short chase and crash. The grand jury on Thursday issued no indictment.

Marion was taken by medical helicopter to Miami Valley Hospital after the incident, and was treated and released. Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said he will be presenting a case against Marion to the grand jury next month.

Gmoser said Williams did his job.

“The trooper acted totally pursuant to the rules and regulations for the use of lethal force,” Gmoser said. “Having been attacked by a cornered offender, the net result was the offender was shot and the officer acted correctly and justifiably in the course of protecting himself and in furtherance of public safety.”

At about 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 15, Williams, from the Hamilton Post, attempted to stop a 2015 Chrysler 300 on Ohio 73 in the area of Ohio 4 for a speed violation. The driver, identified as Marion, failed to stop, according to OSP investigators.

Williams initiated a short pursuit, but once speeds were high and the driver almost lost control near the intersection of Lafayette Avenue and Trine Street, the pursuit was terminated, patrol spokesman Lt. Craig Cvetan said.

A short time later, after the driver slowed down, Williams attempted to stop him again. Marion’s vehicle then became disabled, and he fled on foot.

Gmoser said the grand jury was able to view a video of the incident captured on a surveillance camera in a neighbor’s yard, where Marion and Williams ended up after a short pursuit.

“The assailant grabbed the throat of the police officer while running toward him,” Gmoser said. “The police officer discharged his pistol, which was seen on a video. This is the most unique case I think I’ve ever seen with respect photographic evidence. We’ve seen a lot of cases involving George Orwellian issues but this one really takes the cake.”

He said the video shows the trooper shoot Marion twice in the thorax area at very close range and the whole incident is consistent with Williams’ account of the events, that the Marion “charged” at him, before the video was obtained.

“If the fellow was shot in the head from a distance then it would have shown that the police officer shot him at a distance and was he charging or was he just standing still,” Gmoser said. “This circumstance proved exactly that the position of the bullets, shot from hip as opposed to outreach at a stance, proves the point the officer was protecting himself.”

Williams was placed on administrative leave after the shooting, and he remains on leave.

“Trooper Williams will remain on administrative duties until human resources has approved his return to full duty,” Cvetan said adding he has no other comment on the incident.

The day before the shooting incident Marion was charged in Middletown Municipal Court with pandering obscenity to a minor and was indicted on the felony charge in Butler County Common Pleas Court Sept. 13.

Earlier this year he was charged twice with driving under suspension and disorderly conduct in three different incidents in Middletown Municipal Court. Last year he was charged in six separate incidents for assault, fleeing the scene of an accident, driving under suspension twice, no operator’s license and temporary permit.

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