MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) - A Cedar Creek Township man testified Thursday that he wasn't aiming to kill a Muskegon police sergeant when he shot her in December, but a judge found him guilty of assault with intent to murder.
Paul Osborn shot Sgt. Monica Shirey in the leg on Dec. 8, 2012 while she assisted Muskegon County sheriff's deputies at a domestic dispute. When authorities arrived at Osborn's Oak Road residence around 3:30 a.m., they didn't know Osborn was in the driveway. When officers pointed a flashlight in the suspect's direction after noticing movement, he opened fire with a shotgun.
Audio from Shirey's microphone picks up only her heavy breathing in the seconds after Osborn shot her. It wasn't until after an officer radioed that the suspect was in custody that Shirey finally let someone know she had been shot. She refused to shout initially, she testified Wednesday, so as not to divert other officers' attention away from Osborn.
Four other officers returned fire after Osborn shot. Out of dozens of rounds, only one bullet hit Osborn on his back side. Neither his nor Shirey's injuries were serious.
Osborn took the stand in his own defense Thursday, his expression stoic. He admitted that he shot Shirey, but painted it as something of an accident -- not assault with intent to murder. He said the incident was the culmination of an out-of-control night after using his wife's prescription drugs and alcohol and later a violent physical attack against his wife.
"I think it was clear in my mind I was trying to have the police kill me," he testified. "I was just trying to shoot in the general direction pointing down so they would return fire."
His family has said that the behavior he showed that night wasn't like him and Osborn said he has no explanation as to why the bizarre behavior happened. He told the court he didn't remember parts of the night that he shot Shirey.
"If I wanted to kill one of those police officers, when the officer lit up their tactical light, I would have used my weapon the way that I was trained, using the barrel as a line of sight," he testified.
Osborn also spoke of his longstanding disdain for law enforcement.
"My experience with law enforcement hasn't always been good," Osborne said. "It's common knowledge that I do not like police officers. To go from dislike to wanting to murder is a huge jump."
He even admitted that he'd motioned at officers in the past -- as if he were shooting them with a gun.
But he also showed remorse.
"I don't know if this officer has a family, but I can only imagine..." he said.
In the end, the judge ruled Osborn was aiming to kill and found him guilty of assault with intent to murder.
Osborn was also found guilty on several lesser charges connected to the incident. Osborn was originally charged with six counts, including assault with intent to commit murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.
It was the first conviction for newly-elected Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson. As someone who's worked with Sgt. Shirey for years, he said this conviction had a more personal significance.
"It did give me some satisfaction to give her that justice. I know that was a very scary moment for her and certainly its a scary moment for any officer and to be able to convict this man of attempting to kill her brought a smile to my face," said Hilson.
Shirey is back on duty, according to the Muskegon Police Chief.
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