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New Jersey Police Officer Found Guilty of Murdering Friend After Night of Drinking

A New Jersey police officer was found guilty of murdering his friend after a night of drinking and dry firing a gun at the villains on television.

Officer James Stuart of the Deptford Police Department was convicted of murder and aggravated manslaughter last week at the Gloucester County Justice Complex in Woodbury.

He said he was only trying to dry fire the gun at the television, thinking the gun was unloaded, when he ended up shooting his friend, David Compton, in the face.

In January of 2013, the two men came to Stuart’s house to watch the movie “Judge Dredd” after a night of heavy drinking at a bar.

Compton asked to hold Stuart’s Glock 27 .40 caliber pistol. Stuart, who was off-duty, unloaded the weapon and gave it to Compton.

Reportedly, Compton wanted to ‘play shoot’ the gun at the television in an attempt to pretend to shoot the antagonists in the movie.

Eventually, Stuart fell asleep, and after waking up decided that he wanted to ‘play shoot’ as well. Stuart picked up his Glock 27 in an attempt to pretend to shoot the bad characters in the movie, but instead Stuart accidentally shot his friend Compton in the face.

Compton died a few days later due to brain damage.

Stuart’s blood alcohol content was 0.14 percent, which is well above the 0.08 state limit. And that was four hours after the shooting.

The jury deliberated for two days before reaching the guilty verdict.

“I feel terrible about what happened. But it was an accident. And I did everything I could after to help him,” Stuart testified in court.

However, David’s mother, Maureen Compton said that “we’re just so grateful the jury did not believe the lies Mr. Stuart told.”

In January, Stuart rejected a plea deal that would have him serve 26 years in jail. Now he faces between 30 years to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for December 18th.

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