Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter on Tuesday ruled that prison guards who shot and killed an inmate attempting to escape on April 7 were justified in their actions.

Prosecuting Attorney S. Kyle Hunter on Tuesday ruled that prison guards who shot and killed an inmate attempting to escape on April 7 were justified in their actions.


Christopher Wilson, 41, was shot as he ran from corrections officers at the Varner Unit and, according to a letter from Hunter to State Police Lt. Scott Woodward, Arkansas law provides that a law enforcement officer is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if they reasonably believe that "the use of deadly physical force is necessary to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person who has committed a felony and is presently armed or dangerous."


Hunter said he believes that the actions of the corrections officers were reasonable in believing that Wilson was a convicted felon and was dangerous.


The Arkansas State Police investigated the incident and sent their report to Hunter last week.


Wilson, formerly of Saltillo in Faulkner County, was serving a double sentence of life without parole for the murders of 26-year-old Pamela Kay Reed and her 8-month-old son, Lucas, the night of Dec. 27, 2002. He pleaded guilty in September 2003 and received two consecutive life sentences without parole to avoid the death penalty.


According to the letter from Hunter, Wilson was at his assigned job in the laundry room on April 7 and as a hoe squad passed the laundry room on the way to the field, Wilson fell in with them but was noticed by a guard and told to go back to the laundry room.


Instead, according to the state police report, Wilson started running and was able to exit the prison fence through the sally port. A guard in the tower fired one shot and missed, then lowered her rifle as a guard on the ground fired two shots that also missed.


Wilson was running toward the horse barn, where he attempted to get on a horse but was knocked off, dropping a shank and a three-hole punch that were in his possession, and then got up and continued to run until one of the guards fired another shot, striking Wilson in the back, according to the letter.