Sergeant sentenced to 5 years probation for shooting teen shoplifter

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Jason Blackwelder has been found guilty of manslaughter in connection with a July 2013 shooting of a suspected shoplifter.

CONROE, Texas - A Conroe police sergeant convicted of manslaughter for shooting a teenage shoplifting suspect was sentenced to five years probation.

Jason Blackwelder faced numerous charges in connection with the July 2013 death of 19-year-old Russell Rios. Rios was allegedly stealing cellphone cases from the store.

Police say Blackwelder chased Rios, who was suspected of stealing at a Walmart store, and the two scuffled in a wooded area.

Blackwelder, who was off-duty, originally told officers he shot the teen while Rios was choking him.

Montogmery County investigators later said he lied about what happened. Later tests showed Rios died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head and had other injuries.

A jury returned a guilty verdict Tuesday. Blackwelder was facing up to 20 years in prison.

Since the shooting, the six-year veteran has been on administrative leave.

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