Police officer found guilty of shooting his friend to death
WOODBURY, N.J. (AP) — A policeman charged with shooting his friend to death while they watched an action movie at his house was found guilty of murder on Thursday.
Deptford police officer James Stuart was convicted of murder and aggravated manslaughter, the Gloucester County prosecutor’s office said.
Stuart, 31, shot his friend David Compton, 27, in the face at Stuart’s Deptford home while he was off-duty, prosecutors said.
Stuart testified Compton, of Woodbury, went to his home after they were at a bar and Compton asked to look at his off-duty weapon while they were watching the movie. Stuart said he unloaded the Glock 27 and let Compton dry-fire it at the “bad guys” on the screen in the film.
Later, Stuart fell asleep, then he awoke and picked up the gun from a sofa to dry-fire it at the TV but turned as Compton spoke, heard a loud boom and saw a small hole in Compton’s cheek, prosecutors said.
Compton died six days after the January 2013 shooting from brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, prosecutors said.
Stuart’s blood-alcohol content tested at 0.14 percent, above the state’s limit of 0.08 for alcohol-related offenses.
Prosecutors said Stuart acted recklessly. Stuart said he didn’t know the gun was loaded and he would never have hurt Compton.
Mutual friends testified Stuart and Compton were close friends.