- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - A jury in central Illinois has cleared a man of charges that he tried to kill a Decatur police detective wounded during a raid last year.

Macon County jurors deliberated more than two hours Thursday before finding 33-year-old Dennis Kendall not guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, the (Decatur) Herald & Review (https://bit.ly/1jFiv9U ) reported. But jurors convicted him of armed violence, unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.

Authorities said Decatur police were trying to batter down Kendall’s door in January of last year when a gunshot was fired from inside. The bullet apparently deflected off of a railing in front of the house and wounded detective Jason Hesse in an ankle. Hesse survived, and Kendall later surrendered.

Kendall’s attorney insisted that his client didn’t know it was police trying to force their way into his home. After Kendall fired, he called 911 and was told that it was police at his door.

“His shooting may have been reckless, but that doesn’t change the fact that he thought it was reasonable,” Daniel Noll, one of Kendall’s attorneys, told jurors. “We’re not arguing what happened, but why it happened.”

Tammy Wagoner, the prosecutor, said Kendall’s argument didn’t mitigate his actions.

“There is no justification for firing blind right in the middle of a closed door,” she said. “It doesn’t change that he tried to shoot a police officer. It doesn’t matter if he didn’t hit the ones he meant to hit.”

Even though he was cleared of attempted murder, Kendall still faces a stiff penalty of 30 to 60 years in prison when sentenced Sept. 4, given his previous convictions that included a burglary in 1998.

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Information from: Herald & Review, https://www.herald-review.com

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