Woodring found guilty but mentally ill in Fulton County Deputy murder

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LEWISTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The verdict for a man accused of killing a cop is in.

Nathan Woodring, of Avon, was found guilty but mentally ill on two counts of first-degree murder. It was proven Woodring discharged a gun that caused the death of Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputy Troy Chisum.

It was also proven Woodring shot a peace officer, and knew, or should have known, the victim was an officer.

Fulton County Sheriff Jeff Standard and Chisum’s mother Debbie Wheeler said they agree with the verdict.

“Definitely a relief for everybody involved, the family, the work family. This is what we’ve been after for two years and I think it’s a just verdict, and it’s exactly what we were looking for,” Standard said.

“I think that justice has been served,” Wheeler said.

In court Wednesday before the verdict, State’s Attorney Justin Jochums told the jury the case was “straightforward.” He said Chisum was performing his job when he was fatally shot by Woodring.

Jochums refuted that Woodring was scared for his life prior to shooting Chisum, and referenced a phone call between Woodring and his mother where he told her he fired shots because his door was being kicked in.

“How can you fear for your life when someone is running away from you?” Jochums asked, referring to the fatal shot to Chisum’s back.

Evidence showed Chisum did not have a gun in his hands at the time, and there were no signs of his door being kicked in, he said.

Jochums also addressed Woodring’s mental health, saying that although he has a mental illness, it was not to the point where he could not understand the consequences of his actions.

He then asked the jury to return a guilty or guilty but mentally ill verdict.

For the defense, attorney Nicholas Cotta told the jury he believes the case is not straightforward, and it’s more complex than it seems.

Cotta argued Woodring was not sane at the time of the shooting and it hindered his ability to understand what was happening. He said Woodring has chronic psychosis due to pre-disposed genetics, and Woodring’s meth use likely contributed.

He added that Woodring showed signs of psychosis even after he could no longer use meth.

Woodring allegedly feared for his life and thought Chisum was trying to break down his door and kill him, Cotta argued. He said Woodring thought everyone was a police officer and “lost touch of reality.”

Cotta asked for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

The sentencing hearing has been set for Jan. 4, 2022, at 9 a.m.

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