Attorney: Wrong man is in prison for wounding law officer

A man convicted of shooting a Washington state trooper in 2010 is seeking a new trial, saying another man confessed and that the trooper deliberately misidentified him — something the wounded trooper, now a sheriff, adamantly denies.

Martin Jones, 53, is serving a 50-year sentence after being convicted of shooting Scott Johnson in Long Beach, a tourist town in Pacific County on the southwest Washington coast. Johnson is now the county sheriff.

Jones’ lawyer has filed a new appeal, including sworn declarations from local drug dealer Peter Boer that on the night of the shooting, his brother Nick, a repeat felon, “took credit” for it and sent Peter Boer to dispose of gun parts.

Peter Boer also alleged a motive, though no evidence has emerged to support it: Johnson had been shaking down his brother for money in lieu of arrest. Jones’ lawyer, Lenell Nussbaum, said that explains why the trooper’s statements differed from those of the only other witness — a tow-truck driver who was with Johnson when he was shot, and who said Jones wasn’t the culprit.

“Johnson falsely identified Jones as the shooter to conceal his own corruption,” Nussbaum wrote.

“That’s ridiculous,” Johnson told The Associated Press. “It’s not true.”

Nick Boer, who says he has been clean for six years, also denied it, calling his brother “exotic in his imagination.” He and Johnson said they didn’t even know each other.

“If that guy’s in there innocent, I feel bad about that,” he said. “But I don’t want the story to be spun like I’m some kind of vigilante killer, or that there was some kind of corruption. Those officers, any I’ve ever had dealings with, they’ve done nothing but try to help me.”

Johnson was helping the tow-truck driver impound a minivan a little before 1 a.m. on Feb. 13, 2010, when a man approached and asked what they were doing. The man walked off. Johnson would later describe him as appearing extremely angry, while the tow-truck driver, George Hill, testified that he was “real neutral, like no emotion at all.”

Moments later, the man returned from behind and shot the trooper in the head. The .22-caliber bullet broke apart and remains lodged near the base of Johnson’s skull.

Feeling “like a crowbar had hit me,” Johnson later testified, he locked eyes with the man and shot back twice.

Hill, who had known the trooper for 27 years, described the attacker as white but somehow ethnic, possibly tan or olive-skinned.

Suspicion fell on Jones, the minivan’s owner. A tower crane operator, he was home in bed when his wife, Susan Jones, was arrested for drunken driving in the vehicle. He says he stayed home all night.

The next morning he let investigators search his house, told them where to find his three rifles, and agreed to stand out front to see if a witness would identify him.

Police rolled slowly by in an unmarked car with Hill inside.

At Jones’ 2011 trial, a State Patrol detective, Matthew Hughes, recalled the tow-truck driver’s reaction: “No, that’s…

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