By Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2020

HAYNEVILLE, Ala. (AP) - An attorney for the teenager charged with killing an Alabama sheriff Thursday called the fatal shooting a “huge misunderstanding” while prosecutors argued that the sheriff identified himself while being shot.

News outlets report that a defense lawyer and prosecutor during a court hearing gave different interpretations of whether the suspected gunman knew he was firing at the sheriff. William Chase Johnson, 18, is charged with capital murder for the November 2019 shooting of Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams. Retired Escambia County Circuit Judge Bert Rice heard motions in the case but did not rule on a request for bond.

“Not to insult anyone, but this was a huge misunderstanding,” Troy Teague, one of Johnson’s attorneys, told Rice, according to the Montgomery Advertise r.

“The sheriff, for whatever reason, did not use his blue lights. He was in plain clothes. He knew he was the sheriff, they didn’t. My client was a child when this happened.”

According to WSFA-TV, a prosecutor said they have witnesses that say Williams identified himself as the sheriff, and Johnson responded, “I don’t give a ….”

Johnson turned himself in several hours after the shooting. Johnson is the son of a sheriff’s deputy in neighboring Montgomery County.

The shooting happened at a convenience store where Williams was reportedly trying to break up a noisy crowd,

Sometimes known as “Big John” for his towering frame, the 62-year-old sheriff was elected in 2010 after decades working in law enforcement in his home county.

Speakers at his memorial service remembered him as a man who freely gave out his cellphone number, doted on his grandchild and patrolled his county in his truck with a distinctive air raid siren-sounding horn that always let people know he was coming.

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