PARKERSBURG - After six hours of testimony, members of the September Wood County grand jury found no criminal laws were violated in the shooting death of Jody Wilson.
Wood County Prosecutor Jason Wharton said Friday the case of the March 17 shooting in Lubeck was presented to the panel and it found the three deputies involved in the shooting took appropriate action.
An investigation was conducted by the state police at Wharton's request. On April 24, an internal investigation by the sheriff's department concluded the three deputies did not violate department policies.
In July the state police report was completed. When asked in July when he planned to present the case to the grand jury, Wharton said he would but declined to say when.
In August, he said he would present the case but still declined to say exactly when it would be presented. In his reply then Wharton said he planned to present the case and that the next grand jury would meet in September.
"Given the fact that this incident was an officer involved shooting, the grand jury felt it appropriate to cause to be prepared and hereby tenders to the court its report containing its findings in this matter," the report stated.
In the report the jury said Wilson was under the influence of an illegal substance at the time and was in possession of several firearms within the home.
"At some time after the officers arrived on the scene, Mr. Wilson exited the home armed with an AR15 type rifle and a holstered handgun," the report stated. "He charged at the officers with the rifle raised and shouting obscenities, at which times the officers attempted to retreat."
At that time, the report said, Wilson fired on the officers and three deputies, Zack Schaad, Brett Pickens and Cory Six, returned fire in self defense.
Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy said the investigation was delayed because the state police crime lab has a large backlog of cases.
"It takes time but the state did the right thing; they took their time, analyzed the evidence, and did the right thing versus rushing in and making mistakes," Sandy said.
Sandy said the deputies handled the situation in line with department policies. He added in a situation they faced shooting is a last resort. Deputies were trained to seek cover to protect themselves to avoid shooting, the sheriff said.
"I am very, very proud of how the deputies handled themselves," Sandy said. "They relied on their professional training; they did what was right after the shooting."
After the shooting, Sandy said the department retained counseling for the deputies.
"They maintained a professional attitude from the time they were placed on administrative leave until they returned to duty," he said. "After they returned they continue to do a professional and quality job."
Sandy said the time on the job for the three deputies ranged from six months to 23 years.