NOWATA COUNTY, Okla. - The June fatal shooting of a Nowata County man by a state trooper has been ruled justified.
Trooper Jerrod Martin has been released from routine suspension and returned to active duty following the death of Joshua Stand.
On June 16, Martin shot and killed Stand in the town of Delaware. While on duty that morning, Martin witnessed Stand walking on Highway 169, checked with dispatch on any warrants and moved along when told there was no reason to stop Stand. Martin was aware of Stand's contact with Nowata County sheriff's deputies the weekend before and that was his reason for inquiring about warrants.
According to the district attorney's office, Martin had previously arrested Stand for driving under the influence and firearm possession. He reported also witnessing Stand's combative behavior at the jail on separate occasions.
After moving along, Martin was notified by dispatchers of reports that Stand was walking in the middle of the highway with a knife, so the trooper turned around and located Stand.
According to a memo from DA Kevin Buchanan, Martin ordered Stand out of the road and to drop the knife but Stand refused, telling the trooper to leave him alone. Eventually Stand ran from Martin, who followed on foot.
The memo states Martin's microphone continued recording for a short time but eventually reception became spotty and the recording became mostly inaudible.
Martin told investigators Stand stopped and ran several times during the incident and made chopping and stabbing motions with the knife.
At one point, Stand put the knife in his pocket and began walking away. Martin said he considered physically engaging Stand but then Stand turned and removed the knife from his pocket, taking a step toward the trooper.
At that time, Martin, who estimated the distance between the two at less than 20 feet, shot Stand multiple times. Stand died at the scene.
An autopsy found Stand had nine gunshot wounds but it wasn't clear if some of the rounds made more than one injury, according to the memo. Two of Stand's wounds were likely what caused his death.
In Buchanan's memo, he writes "Of concern in the (ME's) report are three gunshot wounds, which appear to have entered Joshua Stand's body from behind," though Martin said he didn't remember firing at Stand when his back was turned.
The ME also determined Stand was in a state of "acute methamphetamine intoxication," which the DA's office says "quite possibly enhanced" his erratic behavior and "added to the unpredictability of the circumstances."
According to the DA's memo, evidence indicates Martin "was in danger of serious bodily injury or death" and his use of deadly force was justified.
Following the DA's decision to forego filing criminal charges, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol returned Martin to active duty Friday.
"I appreciate the timeliness and independent review of this matter by the Nowata County District Attorney's Office. Having reviewed all facts and evidence surrounding this event, I've authorized the return to full-duty status of Trooper Jerrod Martin effective immediately", said Chief of Patrol Colonel Rick Adams.