Fresno County Sheriff's Detective accused of shooting a fellow deputy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Proceedings are underway in the case of a Fresno County Sheriff's Detective accused of shooting a fellow deputy.

Jared Mullis is charged with involuntary manslaughter for the death of Sgt. Rod Lucas.

It was not a deliberate shooting, but the prosecution is trying to show Detective Mullis was careless, or negligent in handling his firearm. While Mullis claims his friend, Rod Lucas, accidentally shot himself after he handed him the gun.

Families of both men filled the courtroom for the preliminary hearing. The first witness was homicide investigator Donna Davis, who testified there were two witnesses to the shooting, which occurred in a Sheriff's Department Office on October 31st of last year.

A video of the key witness, retired Deputy John Tilley was played in court, in which Tilley re-enacted the incident, and explained how he saw Mullis show Lucas his gun and holster.

Tilley said, "What happened next was as he was talking he went like this and as soon as he got to there, the gun went off."

Tilley said he looked away before the gun went off, but then looked back after hearing the shot and saw the gun still in Mullis' hand.

That is key because Mullis's defense is that he handed the gun to Lucas and then it went off.

But forensic pathologist Michael Chambliss performed the autopsy on Lucas' body and said there was no way Lucas was holding the gun when it went off because there were no gunpowder burns on the body, indicating the gun was further away.

Chambliss said, "It's beyond a 24 to 32-inch distance of the end of the barrel up to where the bullet actually strikes the body surface."

Judge Jonathan Conklin is hearing the case, he will decide if there is enough evidence to bring Jared Mullis to trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

If convicted Mullis could face several years in prison.

The preliminary hearing continues Wednesday.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.