Trial opens in ambush killing of Missouri trooper

Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | 1:16 a.m. CDT

WEST PLAINS — A Missouri prosecutor says the suspect in the ambush killing of a state trooper is a "coward" who shot the victim in the back.

But Lance Shockley's public defender says the wrong man is on trial for the 2005 shooting of Highway Patrol Sgt. Carl Dewayne Graham Jr. outside his southeast Missouri home.

A jury in West Plains heard those statements Monday as Shockley went on trial on charges of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and leaving the scene of an accident. The trial was moved to Howell County from Carter County, where Shockley and Graham both lived.

The prosecution says Graham was killed because he was investigating a fatal hit-and-run accident and was focusing on Shockley as the fleeing driver.

Shockley, now 32 years old, could face the death penalty if convicted in the trooper's death.


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