CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mo. — A special hearing Tuesday provided answers to a controversial shooting case out of Bourbon, Missouri. Authorities held a coroner’s inquest in the shooting death of Justin King. It was almost like a mini-trial.
Testimony lasted the entire day and when it was over, the six-person coroner’s inquest jury ruled it was “justifiable homicide” which backs the shooter’s self-defense claim.
The suspect has not been charged in connection with the shooting.
King was shot on Nov. 3, 2021, at his neighbor’s trailer. We are not naming the shooter since he does not face a charge. He admits to shooting King to death, but he told police he was protecting himself.
Surveillance video played in court showed the suspect was in King’s home about an hour before the shooting. The video is from inside King’s living room, and you can see and hear both men being friendly with one another. The prosecutor said the suspect brought King a marijuana joint so he could calm down from a dispute with another neighbor. You could hear King tell the soon-to-be shooter, “Love you, brother!”
About an hour later, another video from outside shows King in pajama pants and no shirt going to the shooter’s trailer where he allegedly pushed through the door, threw his neighbor’s TV inside the trailer, and grabbed another. There’s no video inside, but another outside angle shows a disturbance on the porch and then King is shot dead.
The suspect told police he not only shot in self-defense but also shot King’s leg first, which he claimed only made King angrier.
Court evidence today offered no answers about what the final argument was about, with sometimes bizarre testimony about what neighbors heard as their last words. One witness testified he heard King yell “No more internet for you!” before he was shot. Others said they heard King yell “I thought we were friends,” and then the shooter answer, “We were,” before firing three shots.
Both men were intoxicated. A deputy coroner testified that a toxicology screen on King found THC, amphetamine, and methamphetamine. A sheriff’s investigator said the suspect’s screen found THC and alcohol.
Outside the courtroom, Justin’s father, John King, said inexplicably, “They were friends, so why would you shoot a friend who you were just cajoling with. It makes no sense.” He added, “It doesn’t seem like it’s a two-sided investigation.”
He said he feared we’re not seeing all of the evidence, such as video from a camera reportedly inside the shooter’s home. It was a camera that one neighbor testified the shooter had recently moved.
“I’d like to see video that would go back a day or so to see when was his video changed,” said King’s father.
His mother, Eva Bruns added, “They’re trying to hide something because they don’t want to bring justice for my son.”