WATERLOO — A Waterloo man has been acquitted of all charges in a 2016 argument that ended up with his wife being shot in the leg.
Following a day of testimony, jurors returned to the courthouse Thursday and deliberated for about three hours before finding Michael Fristo, 61, not guilty of willful injury and domestic assault with a weapon.
Prosecutors said Fristo had pointed a rifle at his then wife Vickie Butler, who was holding a .38-caliber revolver, and then dropped his weapon and grabbed for her gun.
Butler told jurors Fristo pried the revolver from her grasp, aimed it at her from a distance of about 7 feet and then waited a few seconds before pulling the trigger and then leaving the room.
Fristo denied he was holding the rifle and said he had grabbed for her gun, which apparently discharged during a struggle.
“He didn’t specifically intend to do this. It went off. We don’t know why it went off,” defense attorney James Metcalf told jurors during closing arguments Thursday.
The shooting happened in October 2016 in the basement of their home on Belleview Road, and Metcalf told jurors Butler didn’t mention the pause before the shooting until the case entered deposition interviews in June 2017.
He said she had changed her story from what she originally told police.
“This comes down to his word and her word,” Metcalf said. “You are going to have to consider who is credible here.”
Authorities said the two had been arguing, and Fristo had threatened to shoot their dog. Butler said Fristo had walked to the basement, where he kept a gun, so she went to her room to retrieve her revolver and then went to the basement.
WATERLOO — Sheriff’s officials have released the name of the deputy who fired gunshots during a chase through Waterloo and Black Hawk County on Nov. 22.
On Thursday, the sheriff’s office identified the officer as Deputy Joe Schmidt, a 15-year veteran of the office. Schmidt remains on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.No one was injured in the shooting.
The Waterloo Police Department is investigating the incident, and the findings will be presented to the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office.
According to authorities and court records, a Waterloo police officer attempted to stop Eric John Norelius, 35, for speeding on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at 4:45 a.m., and the pursuit lasted about half an hour, traveling into rural Black Hawk County before returning to Waterloo.
As it passed through Cedar Bend Street and Longfellow Avenue, Schmidt and a Waterloo officer were out of their vehicles setting up Stop Sticks when the fleeing truck left the roadway and crossed a grassy area near the deputy, who fired at the vehicle.
The pursuit continued until Norelius reached his home on Allen Street, and he was arrested on misdemeanor eluding and driving charges and issued traffic citations. He has since been released from jail pending trial.