West Mich. police chief, deputy cleared in man’s slaying

A prosecutor cleared two West Michigan law officers in the shooting death of an armed Gulf War veteran outside his home earlier this month, determining they acted in self-defense. Howard City Police Chief Steve DeWitt and Montcalm County Sheriff's Deputy Clayton Thomas fatally shot 47-year-old Matthew Speese outside Thomas' Howard City-area home on June 1. Officers were called to Speese's home after he told someone at a veterans' crisis line that he would kill himself and shoot police who came to the house.
AP Wire
Jun 17, 2011


Police arrived and spoke with Speese for about two hours before Speese left the home and walked down his driveway toward the officers with a long gun. He was shot after refusing orders by police to drop the gun.

In an opinion released Friday, Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause determined that the shooting was an act of self-defense.

“Based upon a review of the facts and the law, it is clear that Mr. Speese presented an immediate danger of death or great bodily harm” to Speese and Thomas, Krause wrote.

Howard City is about 30 miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

Speese returned home withdrawn from the last of several tours of duty in the first Gulf War after watching a helicopter crash claim the lives of many in his platoon, his brother Dave Speese said earlier this month.


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