A meth deal where fake money was being used to buy drugs turned deadly. Now, the man who fired a fatal shotgun blast will head to prison.
Last month, a Missouri judge sentenced Justin Ray Witt, 51, to a total of 74 years in prison for the killing of Nathan Pritchett Jr. Witt was convicted of second-degree murder and a host of other charges in connection to the killing.
A jury convicted him after a three-day trial.
On April 2, 2019, Witt was with two other men – Joey Morris and William Schoening-Scoggins — went in a borrowed vehicle to buy meth, according to the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office.
The three met with Pritchett and brought counterfeit money to the deal, deputies said. Witt, who was previously convicted of unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree attempted statutory rape, brought a loaded 20-gauge shotgun as well.
Morris got in Pritchett’s vehicle while the other two stayed behind, according to the sheriff’s office.
Morris gave over the money, and Pritchett realized it was fake. Pritchett then threatened Morris with a supposed handgun, officials said. Morris ran back to the vehicle where the other suspects waited.
Witnesses said Pritchett got out of his vehicle and began walking toward the other car, deputies noted. Witt said he saw a gun in Pritchett’s hand and heard him making threatening statements.
Witt raised the shotgun and fired a blast through the back window, hitting Pritchett in the chest. Pritchett was pronounced at the scene, investigators said. The suspects fled the area.
Police responded and found the drugs and the victim at the scene. They also determined the weapon Pritchett had was a toy gun.
Within three hours, deputies found the suspect’s car, with a broken back window, parked at a home. The suspects were inside the residence and arrested. Detectives also found the gun with the suspect.
Morris and Schoening-Scoggins previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime and were sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Officials said the state’s self-defense law didn’t apply because it can’t be used when it happens during the commission of another felony.