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Judge rejects Christopher Schurr's attempt to have murder case thrown out

Defense attorney Matthew Borgula
Daniel Boothe
Defense attorney Matthew Borgula

Defense team argued shooting of Patrick Lyoya was justified under 1846 law

A judge Friday rejected a motion to dismiss 2nd Degree Murder charges against former Grand Rapids Police Officer Christopher Schurr

Charged in the killing of Congolese Immigrant Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop, Christopher Schurr’s team had argued in Kent County Circuit court Friday, that the former Grand Rapids Police Officer was legally permitted to use deadly force.

Lead counsel Matthew Borgula pointed to an 1846 Michigan law that authorizes law enforcement to shoot a felon that is attempting to flee.

“What it comes down to, is whether or not, a police officer is justified in using deadly force when you a suspect that had committed a felony,” Borgula said (“He) had committed several felonies. That is undisputed.”

In response, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told Judge Christina Elmore that “this is 2023, not 1846.”

“The fleeing felon, that is a law, but it's been developed over time,” Becker said. “And that is our position, it's not like we are stuck in 1846. There’s been case law and Supreme Court cases that we cited that have developed time.”

In her decision, Judge Elmore rejected the defense’s motion to dismiss.

Elmore told Schurr’s legal team the decision of whether Schurr had acted in self-defense or had been authorized to use deadly force should be left up to a jury.

Schurr’s attorneys say they plan to appeal the judge’s ruling.

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