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Ex-Fresno County deputy acquitted in sergeant's killing

Posted at 8:37 PM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 23:47:23-05

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former Fresno County deputy who shot his friend to death in a sheriff's office was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday.

Jared Mullis wept as the verdict was read, the Fresno Bee reported.

Mullis killed his friend, Sgt. Rod Lucas, on Oct. 31, 2016. The two were part of the sheriff's Special Investigations Unit and were at their office near Fresno Yosemite International Airport when Mullis took his gun from his holster to show Lucas how well it held the gun, witnesses testified.

A shot rang out and Lucas was struck in the chest. He died at a hospital.

“There was no animosity there, Jared loved Rod,” defense attorney Roger Wilson said in his closing statement. “This was just a horrible tragedy and no one was to blame."

The jury had to decide whether Mullis was criminally negligent and reached a verdict after about 90 minutes of deliberations, the Bee said.

Mullis could have faced up to four years in prison if convicted.