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Man pleads no contest to manslaughter in Detroit policewoman’s shooting

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A man pleaded no contest to manslaughter on Friday for fatally shooting a Detroit police officer during a 2019 domestic violence incident at the suburban home they shared, prosecutors said.

Eddie Ray-Jr. Johnson of Garden City, Michigan, was originally charged with first-degree murder and felony firearm for the June 2019 killing of Detroit Police Sgt. Elaine Williams.

But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said that Johnson pleaded no contest Friday to manslaughter under a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of three years of probation and dismisses the felony firearm charge. His sentencing is set for June 14.

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“Any violation found by the court will result in a guideline sentence of 57 months minimum to 95 months maximum to 15 years in prison,” Worthy’s office said in a news release.

Skyline of Detroit, Michigan.

This photograph shows a bird’s-eye view of downtown Detroit. (iStock)

Prosecutors said Johnson and Williams, 34, were domestic partners when they returned home intoxicated from a bar on June 2, 2019, and neighbors heard them arguing before multiple gunshots were heard.

Officers found Williams fatally shot inside the residence and Johnson with a gunshot wound. He told Garden City police he shot Williams “during a struggle after she shot him one time,” the news release states.

All shell casings found at the scene were fired by the .40 caliber pistol issued to Williams as part of her job as a sergeant with the Detroit Police Department.

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“In this case, where both parties were shot with the same gun, the order of events is open to multiple interpretations,” Worthy said. “Considering our burden of proof, we believe this is an appropriate resolution. The decision to offer this plea to this defendant was not what we wanted to do, but it was the just thing to do.”

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