Man accused of shooting neighbor in back has charges dropped
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — Charges have been dropped against a Fairbanks man accused of shooting his neighbor in the back, causing him to become paralyzed from the waist down.
Assistant District Attorney David Buettner made the decision Tuesday to drop the charges after speaking with his investigator and the victim, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported .
The state did not have sufficient evidence to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, Buettner said.
“As with every criminal case there’s always information that is forthcoming, and evidence and rulings that change the perspective of the case,” Buettner said. “We can’t ethically pursue cases when we don’t believe we have an opportunity for conviction.”
Steven Hannah called police in July 2016 to report that he shot his neighbor because the man was “coming at him,” according to court documents. When officers arrived, they found the victim face down in grass about 30 feet (9 meters) from Hannah’s home. He was unresponsive, gasping for breath with multiple gunshot wounds in his back.
Doctors at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital told troopers that the man’s legs were unresponsive and he likely had a spinal cord injury. Buettner confirmed Wednesday that the man is paralyzed from the waist down.
Hannah spent one year and four months in jail awaiting trial. Charges were dropped halfway through jury selection.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com