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Murder Trial of Former Texas Police Officer Begins

Crime

former Wolfe City police officer Shaun Lucas | Image by WFAA

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A former Wolfe City police officer is on trial for murder in Hunt County, with opening statements made on Monday.

Shaun Lucas, 22, was charged in October 2020 for the murder of Jonathan Price. His trial began on September 19 and is being held in the 354th Judicial District Court, presided by Honorable Judge Keli Aiken.


On the night of October 3, an argument broke out between a couple inside a Kwik Chek convenience store. Jonathan Price, 31, reportedly tried to break up the argument, but it simply moved outside, according to witnesses.

A man began fighting with Price, as seen in a surveillance video shown by the defense, and several bystanders called 9-1-1.

Lucas responded to the scene. He used his taser gun on Price, but the man apparently resisted the effects of the taser and allegedly strove to take the taser away from the officer. Lucas fatally shot Price amid the alleged struggle.

The defense argued that Price was the aggressor and Lucas’ use of deadly force was justified, while state prosecutors argued that Price may have been drunk, but he was not aggressive.

On Monday, Wolfe City Police Sgt. Jarred Hayes, who was present at the scene, testified, “Price smelled like alcohol but was not aggressive to anyone.”

Witness Chase Reed, who was buying ice at the store, told jurors, “Jonathan was not full speed. There are a lot more things a cop could’ve done than shoot him.”

“This shooting was not necessary. And if it was not necessary, it was murder,” said Steve Lilley, assistant district attorney for Hunt County.

The defense — led by Toby Shook and Robert Rogers, who represented former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger — argued that Price refused to listen to Lucas’ repeated instructions and then tried to take his taser before being shot.

In a 2020 statement released by Rogers, the attorney stated:

“Officer Lucas responded to a fight in progress call. He saw several people gathered at the front of the store. Mr. Price approached Officer Lucas. Mr. Price did not claim to be an uninvolved, innocent party. Officer Lucas told Mr. Price he was detained, and Mr. Price resisted.

“After Mr. Price refused repeated instructions and physically resisted, Officer Lucas deployed his taser and continued to give Mr. Price instructions. Mr. Price resisted the effects of the taser and attempted to take it away from Officer Lucas.

“Officer Lucas only discharged his weapon in accordance with Texas law when he was confronted with an aggressive assailant who was attempting to take his Taser.”

In his opening statement, Rogers claimed, “Shaun Lucas gave 20 loud commands over 60 seconds. Jonathan Price followed zero of them.”

Another attorney said Price “attempted to take [the taser] away from Officer Lucas.”

The Wolfe City Police Department (WCPD) said Lucas “was terminated for his egregious violation of the City’s and police department’s policies.”

He was charged with murder by the Texas Rangers, who released a statement calling his actions “not objectionably reasonable.”    

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