Verdict reached in trial against man charged in Charleston police officer’s murder

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 1:21 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Monday, jurors deliberating the fate of a man charged with murdering a Charleston Police officer reached a verdict.

After days of deliberations, the jury found Joshua Phillips, 39, guilty of second-degree murder in connection to the death of Officer Cassie Johnson.

Phillips was also found guilty of simple possession of a controlled substance.

Officer Johnson was shot on December 1, 2020, while responding to a traffic complaint.

Officer Cassie Johnson
Officer Cassie Johnson(WSAZ)

The State and the defense concluded closing arguments around 3:15 p.m. Thursday, and the jury was handed the case shortly afterward. The prosecution had originally sought a first-degree murder charge.

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Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin and Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt issued the following statements following the verdict in the Joshua Phillips trial:

“Since the moment when I arrived at the hospital the evening that Patrol Officer Cassie Johnson was fatally shot, my heart has been with Cassie’s mom, Sheryl; her sister, Chelsea; and her brothers and sisters in blue at the Charleston Police Department,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “It has been a painful journey – not only for Cassie’s family and friends – but also for our community. While this was not the verdict we had hoped for, I hope today’s decision by the jury brings some level of peace and closure.”

“This is not the verdict we wanted. However, the jury made their decision and we must have faith in our justice system,” said Chief of Police Tyke Hunt. “While there’s nothing we can do to bring back a fallen sister, her death will not be in vain. The officers of the Charleston Police Department will work to uphold her memory in the job she so dearly loved.”

While Johnson’s family didn’t want to talk with us, Phillips’ mother Delores Phillips said her son should not being facing such a severe penalty – maintaining he acted in self-defense.

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