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Woman Charged With Second-Degree Murder In Death Of Clinton, Missouri, Police Officer

Henry County Sheriff's Office

Tammy Widger, the 37-year-old Clinton, Missouri, woman who was in the house when police responded to a 911 call resulting in the shooting death of officer Christopher Ryan Morton on March 6, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Henry County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Shields announced the new charge on Wednesday.

Last week, Widger was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and keeping a public nuisance, both felonies.

Morton was killed, and two other officers were injured, after arriving at an address given to them by 911 dispatchers who had heard women screaming on the other end of the call.

When officers arrived on scene, Widger emerged from the house and told officers there was no problem and that no one was inside. After double-checking the address with dispatchers, officers entered the house. That's when the suspect, later identified as James E. Waters, 37, opened fire, killing Morton and wounding two other officers. Shortly after midnight, a SWAT Team entered the house and found Waters in the bathroom dead from a gunshot wound.

Shields added the count of second-degree murder under the felony murder rule, alleging that Morton's death occurred as a result of the other felonies Widger has been charged with.

"If someone is committing a felony and someone dies as a result of the commission of that felony, anyone committing that felony can be charged with murder," Shields told KCUR.

In a statement, the Missouri Highway Patrol said its ongoing investigation had "revealed additional information that supports the amended charge," though Shields would not comment on what additional information had been discovered.

Widger's bond has been set at $100,000.

C.J. Janovy is KCUR 89.3's digital content editor. You can find her on Twitter, @cjjanovy.

A free press is among our country’s founding principles and most precious resources. As director of content-journalism at KCUR, I want everyone in our part of America to know we see them and we’re listening. I work to make sure the stories we tell and the conversations we convene reflect our complex realities, informing and inspiring all of us to meet the profound challenges of our time. Email me at cj@kcur.org.
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