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Ex-Policeman Convicted of Murder

June 29, 2000

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ A former police officer and Baptist minister was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Wednesday after being cleared of murder in the death of his lover’s husband.

Paul Hurth, 44, was accused in the shooting death of car salesman Ralph Peter Gawor in February. He faces a maximum of 21 years in prison on the lesser charges.

He is to be sentenced Aug. 14.

The four-year officer and former department chaplain had faced a life sentence if convicted of murder. He is being held without bail.

There was never any question during two weeks of testimony that Hurth killed the 43-year-old Gawor, confronting Gawor in the man’s house Feb. 18 and shooting him twice in the chest with his service weapon.

The question for jurors was whether he did it in self-defense _ as he claimed _ or whether it was premeditated _ as prosecutors contended.

Hurth said he killed Gawor during a struggle about the sexual affair he had been having with Nancy Gawor.

Prosecutors said Hurth plotted the shooting after learning Nancy Gawor planned to reconcile with her husband of 12 years.

Hurth was arrested more than a week after the killing and fired from the force. At the time, the former pastor of the Heritage Baptist Church admitted the affair, but denied being at the Gawor house the night of the killing.

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