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Bend jury acquits La Pine man of attempted murder

Published On: Dec 12 2012 10:31:20 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 13 2012 06:21:15 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent was in the courtroom as the trial of a La Pine man accused of trying to kill an OSP trooper went to the jury.

BEND, Ore. -

A Deschutes County jury acquitted a La Pine man Thursday of attempted murder charges, finding he did not try to kill an Oregon State Police trooper outside his home nearly a year ago.

The jury reached the verdict in its second day of deliberations in the case of William Naftel, 54.

He was arrested last January after he pointed a gun at an Oregon State Police trooper.

In addition to being charged with aggravated attempted murder, Naftel also was charged with unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, reckless endangering of another and DUII.

The jury convicted him only on the DUII charge and found him not guilty on the other charges. Since he already has spent 10 months in jail, Naftel is expected to be released on Friday.

Police said the trooper had responded to Naftel's house after someone called 911 and reported gunshots in the area.

Earlier that day, Naftel was intoxicated and fighting with a neighbor, police said. The two had exchanged threatening gunshots into the ground.

In his closing arguments Wednesday, prosecutor Jon Char told the jury that Naftel knew troopers were at his house when he pulled the gun on the officer.

Char said Naftel had pulled the trigger, thinking it was loaded, in an attempt to kill the trooper. But the gun was empty.

Defense attorney Joel Wirtz argued Naftel had acted in self-defense and thought it was his neighbor, not police, who had pulled onto his property.

Wirtz also said Naftel never pulled the trigger.

Naftel faced at least 10 years in prison if he had been convicted of aggravated attempted murder.


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