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David Aborn Found Not Guilty

The second degree murder trial of David Aborn ended at 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday evening, Feb. 27, 2019, as a six woman, six man jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

Douglas County Circuit Court Judge Craig Carter presided over the three-day trial in which Aborn was charged with felony murder involving the death of his uncle, John Aborn, on January 26, 2017. 

Charges also included unlawful use of a weapon and third-degree domestic assault.

David Aborn was charged in July 2017 for acting in conjunction with his father to commit second-degree murder.  Charges against both father and son were handed down by grand jury indictments that stemmed from a January 2017 shooting incident that occurred on family property located near Highway 76, a few miles west of Ava. 

Aborn was represented by Attorneys Dee Wampler, Joseph Passanise and Scott Pierson. 

Proceedings began Monday, Feb. 25 with jury selection, and after a twelve-member panel of jurors was seated in the courtroom, opening arguments from both sides were given late that afternoon.  

State prosecutors began presenting evidence in their case on Tuesday, Feb. 26, finalizing their argument at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.  Afterward, for about one hour, Aborn’s defense team led by Attorney Joseph Passanise, presented evidence countering state testimony and theories about what happened that night. 

The jury began deliberations around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, and after approximately two hours, jurors found David Aborn not guilty of all charges. 

The case against Aborn was prosecuted by the Missouri Attorney General’s office, with special prosecutors Assistant Attorney General Travis Lillie of Springfield, Mo., Assistant Attorney General Steven Kretzer of Jefferson City, and Assistant Attorney General Michael Brown. 

David’s father, James Lee Aborn, was tried in a Douglas County Courtroom in 2018, where he was also found not guilty of all charges by a 12-member panel of jurors. Lee was defended in court by Attorneys Roger Wall and son, Judson Wall.

In both cases, state prosecutors had the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and for each count levied against the defendants, jurors were required to unanimously agree in their final decision.