Thursday, December 18, 2008

Arkansas: Mother Shoots, Kills Son In Self-Defense, Police Say

Franklin County, Arkansas

From the Fort Smith Times Record of December 16, 2008
Mother Shoots, Kills Son In Self-Defense, Police Say

A Franklin County man was killed by his mother Sunday, likely in self-defense, after he reportedly pistol-whipped her and his stepfather, authorities said.

Cameron Utsler, 22, was shot to death at the Prairie Street residence he shared with his mother and stepfather, north of Charleston, according to Lt. Steve Coppinger of the Arkansas State Police.

“Right now it looks like a justified shooting,” David Gibbons, Franklin County’s district attorney, said on Monday.

Troopers were dispatched to the residence at around 1:20 a.m. Sunday. Utsler was found dead at the scene, Coppinger said.

Utsler’s mother and stepfather, whose names were not revealed by either Coppinger or Gibbons, told investigators that Utsler became violent toward them after they had returned home from a Christmas party, according to Coppinger.

“He was upset that he was excluded from a family Christmas get-together,” Coppinger said.

Utsler reportedly brandished a handgun and at one point struck both his mother and stepfather on the head with the pistol, according to Coppinger. How many times Utsler struck them with the gun was not revealed.

“I don’t believe he discharged the weapon, he just physically beat them,” Coppinger said. “One of the parents, out of a defensive posture, had to get a firearm and shoot him.”

Coppinger described both the mother and stepfather as “very small in stature” and “slenderly built.” Utsler, however, was described as more than 6 feet tall and weighing more than 300 pounds.

“He’s a big guy with a violent history,” Coppinger said.

The mother and stepfather told investigators that Utsler had physically abused them in the past.

Because the shooting is believed to be self-defense, an arrest was not made.

“For this to occur right at the Christmas holiday must be very traumatic for the mother,” Coppinger said.

Both the mother and stepfather were treated and released from a local hospital, according to Coppinger

It is not known if Utsler had a history of mental instability, Coppinger said.

Gibbons said that until the State Police investigation is complete, he cannot officially clear the shooting as an act of self-defense.

Utsler’s body was transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, where an autopsy will be conducted.

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