STEELVILLE, Mo. (AP) - A Missouri judge has found probable cause for the second-degree murder trial of 59-year-old James Crocker, accused of killing a man on a float trip who stopped on or near Crocker's property.
Crocker, of Steelville, is charged in the death of 48-year-old Paul Dart Jr. Crawford County Associate Circuit Judge Scott Bernstein heard more than an hour of testimony Friday before ruling the case should move forward.
The shooting happened in July after Crocker spotted people from a Meramec River float trip party on a gravel bar that Crocker considered part of his property. Dart was shot in the face during the confrontation.
Defense attorney Michael Bert says Crocker was protecting himself and his property, and felt threatened by rock-wielding members of the float party.