Judge: Man can’t be tried in forgotten ’72 cop-shooting case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A judge is refusing to let prosecutors try an 82-year-old man in the nonfatal shooting of an Ohio police officer almost 45 years ago.

Defendant Charles Hays was indicted, but never prosecuted, as the case fell through the cracks.

Columbus police officer Niki Cooper was hit in the left arm in March 1972 when he and his partner interrupted a burglary on the city’s southeast side. Cooper never regained full use of the injured limb. He died just over three years ago.

Hays’ lawyer says a trial now would violate Hays’ constitutional right to a speedy trial. Franklin County Judge Guy Reece ruled Thursday that the prosecution cannot go forward.

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