Texas Officer Sentenced To Probation In Deadly Off-Duty Shooting

CONROE (June 12, 2014) Conroe police Sgt. Jason Blackwelder, 30, who was convicted Tuesday of manslaughter in an off-duty shooting that left a suspected teenage shoplifter dead, has been sentenced to five years of probation.

A Montgomery County jury recommended the punishment Wednesday, and Judge K. Michael Mayes agreed.

Blackwelder could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison.

Jurors convicted Blackwelder in the July 2013 shooting death of Russell Rios, 19.

Blackwelder was with his wife when theft prevention authorities at a Walmart store began pursuing Rios.

The officer, who was not in uniform, joined the chase, which led into some woods.

Blackwelder said he opened fire in self-defense as Rios choked him while trying to get away, but prosecutors said Blackwelder acted in a reckless manner.