Rifle man guilty of lesser charges in shooting of officer

A Garfield County jury has acquitted a man on a charge of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the 2010 shooting of a Rifle police officer in his protective vest.

However, the jury convicted Phil Amonette, 54, of lesser charges of first-degree assault against a peace officer with a deadly weapon and criminal mischief-domestic violence.

The verdict was announced after 9:30 p.m. Monday after jurors’ deliberations that began that afternoon. They heard a week and a half of testimony.

The attempted murder charge would have carried a penalty of up to 48 years in prison had Amonette been convicted of it.

Amonette was accused of having shot Garrett Duncan as Duncan and fellow officer Dewey Ryan responded to a domestic violence call Oct. 22, 2010. Duncan suffered bruising to the left side of his chest, but his vest stopped the bullet.

Ryan shot Amonette several times in the incident, and Amonette recovered from life-threatening injuries.

His public defenders say a gun he was carrying accidentally went off as he was trying to open a garage door to leave a U-Haul building on Whiteriver Avenue.

Prosecutors contended that Amonette, in the shooting, made good on intentions voiced earlier that day when he said his girlfriend and her granddaughter should go ahead and call the cops, and said “let me get my gun” and that he was “not going back to jail.”


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