Charges dropped against security guard who claims he shot, killed man in self-defense
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A security guard is free a month after he was charged in a gas station killing he maintains was self-defense.
On Oct. 7, Maury Adams was working security at the QuikTrip on West Florissant in Ferguson when investigators say a customer shot Adams, and then Adams shot and killed the customer.
Police identified the customer as 39-year-old Jason Weaver.
St. Louis County prosecutors charged Adams with manslaughter. This week a grand jury said it didn’t see enough evidence for charges, leading prosecutors to dismiss the case.
“I don’t know how many times you’re supposed to be shot or where before it’s okay to use a gun to defend yourself and other innocent people from an attack,” said Scott Sherman, a lawyer who knows Adams’ family. “Maury Adams was shot point blank in cold blood.”
Sherman is speaking for Adams, who he says isn’t ready to talk publicly. Sherman claims there’s more to what happened than what investigators have released.
On the day of the shooting, police said Adams and Weaver got into a fight which led to a shootout.
In charging documents, investigators claimed, “the victim entered the store and shot the defendant. The victim then dropped the gun and ran down a hallway in the store. Defendant followed and shot the victim several times while the victim laid on the floor with his hands up.”
There is surveillance video from inside the store, but it has not been released publicly. Sherman says he’s seen the video and he believes it doesn’t show what’s written in charging documents.
“Nobody in that situation would have ever had any idea that he had dropped a gun during that, or anybody in that situation would have thought that he didn’t have a gun. Even if he had dropped a gun, he might have had another gun,” Sherman said. “He was not escaping. Cold, cold blood shot him [Adams] and then ran down the hallway and hid, not after looking like he was a guy that was laying in wait to finish him off.”
Sherman also says the shooting didn’t start from a fight between Adams and Weaver.
“He’d [Weaver] had an argument with the clerk because he wanted to illegally purchase cigarettes for an underage customer and rightfully, the clerk said no, I can’t break the law,” Sherman said. “He came back after a North County police officer left the store and, within 10 seconds of walking in and seeing hardly anything, shot Maury Adams point blank in the abdomen. It just so happened that he hit the bulletproof vest.”
Weaver never should have had a gun. First Alert 4 Investigates found court records showing Weaver was convicted in a 2001 armed robbery in St. Louis county and sentenced to 13 years in prison; he’d only recently gotten parole.
The I-team talked to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell about the shooting earlier this month.
“When we issue charges, it’s never something we do callously or recklessly,” Bell said. “It’s something that we put a lot of thought into. Once all the facts are out there, folks will understand why we issued charges.”
When asked if the surveillance video is something Bell would consider releasing publicly, he responded, “With ongoing investigations, we have to be careful about the information that we do release because the defendant has a right to a fair trial.”
Those who know Adams say they question if more transparency could have made a difference.
“This isn’t really the way that I think justice should be carried out, not when the hero gets charged with a crime,” Sherman said. “There are a lot of people, including a store clerk and a manager and other customers, who got to go home to their families later that day and hug them, and if it wasn’t for Maury Adams, I’m not sure that they would be able to do that.”
Under Missouri law prosecutors are the ones who ultimately have the final say in charging decisions. Bell’s office told First Alert 4 Investigates it won’t comment since the grand jury’s decision, and they don’t plan on refiling charges.
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