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Mayor’s nephew, 2 others charged in Hurricane shooting

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HURRICANE, Washington County (AP) — Charges have been filed against three people, including the mayor's nephew, in connection with a shooting here that left an alleged intruder dead three weeks ago.

Deputy County Attorney Ryan Shaum said convicted felon Danny Dutton, who is accused in the shooting, was charged Friday with possession of a weapon by a restricted person, a second-degree felony, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Dutton is the nephew of Hurricane Mayor Tom Hirschi.

Court papers say Dutton shot and killed Aaron Barbosa during a March break-in at Dutton's apartment. Barbosa hit Dutton on the arm with a steel pipe when Dutton opened the apartment door, police say.

Shane Norris, Dutton's roommate, also was charged Friday with felony possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Bow-Dee Woodgeard was charged with felony possession of a weapon by a restricted person, Shaum said.

A 30-year-old female who allegedly drove Barbosa to Dutton's apartment was charged earlier in the week with one count of first-degree felony aggravated burglary and one count of second-degree felony aggravated assault. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

Hurricane Police have repeatedly declined to identify the men, claiming concern for the safety of witnesses. The names of those involved only became public after court documents were filed.

Hurricane Assistant Chief of Police Shayne Copeland said Friday that Chief Lynn Excell told him during the investigation that he'd asked Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap about how to handle press releases issued regarding the investigation. He said that Belnap had told Excell to continue doing what he was doing.

The press releases contained sparse details of the incident and did not include the names of the alleged shooter or victim. The press releases also stated that the alleged shooter acted in self-defense, even though the investigative report had not yet been handed over to the Washington County Attorney's Office.

"The (Hurricane police) followed the protocol of withholding identifying information of suspects and victims to protect individual safety, preserve evidence and comply with the rules of ethics designed to preserve the presumption of innocence," Belnap said. "This is typical and I encourage all police agencies to follow that protocol."

Copeland said he was aware that Dutton was Hirschi's nephew at the onset of the investigation, but said it had no bearing on how authorities handled the case.

Information from: The Spectrum, www.thespectrum.com