Man charged in university shooting to argue for release

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Steven Jones (Northern Arizona University) Steven Jones (Northern Arizona University)
FLAGSTAFF, AZ (AP) -

Attorneys for the man charged with killing a college student in Flagstaff are expected to argue Friday to have their client released from jail into the custody of his parents, and for the murder and assault charges against him to be thrown out or reconsidered by a grand jury.

Steven Jones has been held in the Coconino County jail on a $2 million bond since shortly after his arrest on Oct. 9. He says the fatal shooting of Colin Brough on the Northern Arizona University campus was in self-defense. He told authorities he was being verbally threatened, believed he was being followed and feared for his life.

Prosecutors say he wasn't justified in using lethal force, painting him as a loose cannon who chose to retrieve a gun from his car during a largely verbal fight and open fire.

[SPECIAL SECTION: NAU Shooting]

Three others were injured in the shooting. Jones is charged with first-degree murder and six counts of aggravated assault.

His attorneys want Coconino County Superior Court Judge Dan Slayton to throw out the indictment or send the case back to the grand jury. They argued in court documents that prosecutors made a biased presentation to the grand jury, downplaying Jones' injuries from being punched in the face by an unidentified person and tackled, and mischaracterized witness statements.

Jones' attorneys also asked to have him released on his own recognizance or to a third party or have the bond reduced.

"Steven has neither the means nor the desire to flee this jurisdiction," defense attorney Burges McCowan wrote in court documents. "He is eager to clear his name."

Prosecutors accused defense attorneys of cherry-picking statements in arguing for a reconsideration by the grand jury. They said scrapes on Jones' body, a split lip and red marks were superficial at best, and that the evidence was presented fairly and impartially to grand jurors.

They urged a judge to keep the indictment intact and Jones in jail.

"What could be more motivation to flee than a strong likelihood that one will spend decades in prison?" prosecutor Bryan Shea wrote.

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