Criminal Justice

Lawyer is acquitted in shooting of homeless man

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An Albuquerque, New Mexico, lawyer was acquitted in a retrial on Monday in the shooting of a homeless man who entered his office.

Jurors acquitted David “Chip” Venie after deliberating for about seven hours, report the Albuquerque Journal and Venie claimed he shot Stephen Biddinger in the leg in self-defense in August 2012 because the homeless man entered his office, threatened him and refused to leave.

Biddinger had claimed Venie told him he smelled, and he wasn’t aggressive. He admitted during the trial that he had used methamphetamine the night before the incident.

Venie was found not guilty of three charges: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and tampering with evidence.

Venie was represented by a public defender in the retrial.

In the first trial, Venie represented himself. A judge cited Venie’s behavior in declaring a mistrial. The judge said Venie called Biddinger a “methed-out lunatic,” showed jurors a mug shot of Biddinger with the word “busted” written over it, and persisted with the same questions despite repeated objections.

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