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Page officer cleared in fatal shooting

Page officer cleared in fatal shooting

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PAGE -- A federal jury in Phoenix has found in favor of Shawn Wilson, the former Page Police officer who fatally shot a Page man at his business in June 2011.

Page City Attorney Joe Estes said Wednesday the federal district court jury of eight people found unanimously in favor of Wilson last Thursday in the retrial of a federal court civil lawsuit regarding the death of Bill Foust, 50. Foust was shot to death just outside his B & T Marine on Father's Day 2011. Wilson, who later moved to the Valley, had been cleared by the Coconino County Attorney's Office of criminal wrongdoing.

The case, brought in 2012 by Foust's wife Toni and two daughters, originally went to trial last December. Following a week and a half of trial testimony, and nearly 15 hours of jury deliberations over a three-day period, the trial ended in a hung jury in a 6-2 vote for Wilson, Estes said. Without a unanimous verdict, the court declared a mistrial, resulting in last week's retrial.

"This jury verdict in favor of Officer Wilson marks the end of almost four years of very heated litigation and further vindicates Officer Wilson and the City in what was a very tragic event," Estes said.

Nearly three years ago, Toni Foust and Bill Foust's daughters from a previous marriage, Brynn D'Avello and Shannon Foust, alleged that Wilson "acted with an evil mind and evil hand" when he shot Bill Foust in a legal claim against Wilson and city officials. The claim asked for $6.7 million in damages for Toni Foust, a witness to the shooting.

Estes said the suit also alleged the city and then-Chief Charlie Dennis were negligent in their hiring, training and supervision of Wilson. Following a motion for a directed verdict, the court dismissed all claims against the city and Dennis prior to the case going to the jury, Estes said, with the court ruling that plaintiffs had failed to provide any evidence of negligence on the part of the city or Dennis.

City records showed Page Police had 32 prior contacts with the Fousts since 1996 when a 911 call was received from Toni Foust about 6 p.m. Toni Foust reportedly called to complain about a dispute that she had her husband were having. A county sheriff's office report said Foust was "upset, loud and confrontational" with Wilson, who had five years' service with the city.

Foust and Wilson went outside the business and were soon involved in a physical altercation, Foust attempting to gain control of Wilson's Taser, the report said. Wilson fired two shots at Foust, striking him in the chest and head. Wilson and a second officer who arrived on the scene attempted to save Foust's life while the Page Fire Department responded with medics. Foust was declared dead at Page Hospital shortly after the shooting.

The shooting was Page's first officer-involved shooting in history and was followed only six days later by the fatal shooting of Navajo Police Sgt. Darrell Curley. Curley was responding to a domestic violence call in Kaibeto, a Navajo Nation community about 35 miles southeast of Page, and was shot to death by the father of two men who had been quarreling,

Foust had been jailed the previous December after filing sovereign citizenship status regarding a court matter in Kanab, Utah. He was contesting a traffic ticket received that summer for speeding in Kane County, Utah, when he refused to acknowledge authority in the courtroom. He also refused to provide his birth date to the court, failed to appear and was charged with contempt. His fine for a traffic violation increased from $115 to $1,052.

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