Grand jury to decide if shooting was self-defense

Dispute between neighbors ended in a nonlethal shooting in Prospect in July

PROSPECT — A Jackson County grand jury will decide whether a Prospect man was acting in self defense when he shot a neighbor who had trespassed onto his property in July.

"We will let the grand jury make the determination as to whether this was a case of self defense," said sheriff's Sgt. Nate Sickler.

The shooting appears to have been the result of a running feud between the two neighbors.

The case began when deputies were called to the 1500 block of Mill Creek Drive in Prospect just before 2 p.m. on July 29 for a report of a man who had been shot.

Deputies contacted 53-year-old John Davidson, who said he had shot Christopher Thomas Larson, 34, in self defense.

Larson, who had been shot through the shoulder, drove away from the scene and later was admitted to a local hospital, where he was treated for the injury and released.

The pair had been arguing over various issues over a two-month period when Davidson allegedly found Larson on his property.

Davidson had armed himself with a .44-caliber handgun because he believed the confrontations had been growing more heated.

Larson's girlfriend, Mindy Lavon Bowen, 32, might have been in the area when the shooting occurred. However, she has been in hiding from police because she has several outstanding felony warrants for identity theft and methamphetamine.

Sickler says Bowen could be a valuable witness before the grand jury. She has not come forward to investigators, despite attempts by the Sheriff's Department to reach her.

"We would certainly like to hear from her, but we are prepared to take this to the grand jury without her," Sickler said.

According to court records, two warrants had been issued for Larson's arrest, including one in April for a charge of felony assault and another in January for a charge of methamphetamine possession.

He was arrested in August on those and other warrants and lodged in the Jackson County Jail. He has since been released.

No date has been set for the grand jury presentation, Sickler said.

"We recently got back the crime lab reports," Sickler said. "We don't want to rush this case."

Sheriff's investigators have had to make time to work on the case during a busy summer.

Detectives are working on two disturbing missing-persons cases that require a lot of time and effort, Sickler said.

The search continues for Stephanie Anne Warner, 43, of Ruch, who was last seen on July 4. Her boyfriend has been named a "person of interest" in the case.

Investigators also are working to solve the mysterious disappearance of Christopher Jon Evans, 25, of White City. Evans was reported missing by family members on July 29, which was his birthday.

Sheriff's investigators are asking anyone who sees Bowen to call 911 to report her location or call the Jackson County Tip Line at 541-774-8333. Detectives ask callers to leave their contact information.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or

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