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Man charged in shooting that wounded protestor pleads guilty to tampering with a deceased human body

James Edward Marshall pleaded guilty to tampering with a deceased human body.
Credit: Alamosa County Sheriff's Office

ALAMOSA, Colo. — The Alamosa attorney arrested in connection with the shooting of a protestor last June was sentenced to 11 years during a hearing Tuesday morning, court records show.

James Edward Marshall IV's trial was scheduled to start on Aug. 30, but instead on that day, he pleaded guilty to a single count of tampering with a deceased human body, which is a class three felony, court records show.

Marshall, a defense attorney, was arrested in connection with an incident on June 4, 2020 in which Danny Pruitt was shot in the head. He was seriously injured but survived.

Marshall's attorney explained that there was "no factual basis" for the charge but said it was one that both sides agreed upon because it had a sentencing range both sides found appropriate. 

Randy Conney said prosecutors were adamant about the charge being a class three felony but he didn't want a crime of violence attached to the charge and it was "difficult" to find a charge that fit.

Both sides waived the establishment of factual basis in order for the plea to be accepted. 

Marshall was originally arrested on charges of:

  • Criminal attempt to commit 2nd-degree murder
  • 1st-degree assault
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Felony menacing
  • Criminal mischief
  • Illegal discharge of a firearm
  • Prohibited use of weapons

RELATED: Affidavit: Alamosa attorney says he shot driver in the head for hitting his wife during protests

Just before 6 p.m. on June 4, 2020, an arrest affidavit says Pruitt was stopped at a red light near the intersection of Main Street and State Avenue in Alamosa.

At the same time, many protesters, including Marshall and his wife, were in the intersection, the affidavit says. Marshall's law office is near where the protest was taking place, but he told investigators he had planned to attend the event.

Surveillance video from a nearby store shows Pruitt inch his vehicle forward through the crowd of protesters who split to avoid being hit, the affidavit says.

The affidavit says the video also shows Marshall reach into his waistband, pull out an item police believe was a handgun and point it at the truck. Marshall and his wife are then seen running away.

RELATED: Man arrested in connection to downtown Alamosa shooting

During an interview with police, Marshall admitted to shooting Pruitt and said he did it because his wife was hit by the truck Pruitt was driving. Marshall told officers he was afraid for her life and that he was legally carrying the weapon.

An officer who reviewed the surveillance video said he did not see Marshall's wife get hit by the vehicle and noted in an interview with Marshall that "the video footage did not show his wife as he explained." According to the affidavit, Marshall responded, "the video could be wrong."

The officer also noticed, according to the affidavit, that Marshall had shaved his face after the incident prior to being interviewed by police. When asked why, Marshall responded, "if he was going to jail he wanted to shave," the affidavit says.

Marshall's attorney said they plan to file a motion asking for reconsideration of the sentence and they have 126 days from the date of sentencing to do so.

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