FRESNO, California - A Fresno County judge has made the decision – Fresno County Sheriff's deputy Jared Mullis will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Sgt. Rod Lucas who was killed when a gun went off at a law enforcement office last October.
The judge's decision comes after three days of courtroom testimony in a preliminary hearing.
Over the three days of testimony inside the Fresno County courtroom, evidence and eyewitness accounts were presented about the moments that led up to the discharge of a gun that ultimately cost sergeant Lucas his life.
“The evidence reasonably supports a conclusion that at that moment he had directed and pointed a fully loaded firearm directly at Sgt. Lucas with his hands on the gun – I do not find any other reasonable interpretation,” Judge Jonathan Conklin said.
As the decision came down, Mullis remained silent and didn't flinch or show any type of reaction.
“We've been kind of planning for trial since day one,” said Roger Wilson, Mullis’ defense attorney. “He's not feeling great. I mean this had been very trying for him. He was strongly tied to Sgt. Lucas as well, and again – we have to state that his condolences go out to the Lucas’ family. Because this is obviously a tragedy for them, but he's in a though time right now. He's having a tough time."
During today's hearing a sheriff's deputy was questioned about the handling of guns by his unit which included Mullis and Lucas.
That deputy stated: “We are all guilty" of handling firearms loosely.
The exact circumstances of how and why the gun went off that ultimately killed Lucas is still unclear.
Mullis is ordered to appear in court again on Nov. 27 for an arraignment. At that point, a trial date is expected to be set.