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Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A Kasson man's murder trial is scheduled to get underway in Olmsted County Court Monday morning with a fairly unusual twist.

33-year-old William Shillingford has opted not to have a jury decide his fate and has instead chosen a court trial, which means the judge presiding over the case will decide his guilt or innocence. He is facing two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree assault in connection with the death of 70-year-old John Colbert in May of last year. Shillingford previously gave notice of his intent to assert a mental illness or cognitive impairment defense.

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Shillingford is accused of fatally shooting Colbert during an exchange of gunfire on the victim’s property along the eastern edge of Oxbow Park. According to the criminal complaint, the deadly shooting was captured on video recordings from outdoor security cameras installed on the property. The videos show Shillingford walking near a garage and holding a handgun before Colbert and his son emerged from the front door of the family's home and walked toward the detached garage.

Shillingford complaint-Olmsted County Court
Shillingford complaint-Olmsted County Court
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The court document states the recording also shows Shillingford as he "racked" his handgun and assumed a "shooting stance" as he aimed the weapon in the direction of the victim and fired multiple shots. Based on the video recordings, the charges allege Shillingford fired three shots before fleeing on foot.

The criminal complaint says Colbert's son told investigators that he saw a pickup pull into the driveway at the property and that he spotted a man hiding around the corner of the garage when he went outside to investigate. After he informed his father, the two men then went outside to further investigate with his father carrying a handgun. The statement given by the son indicated that Colbert managed to fire two shots at the gunman after he had been shot.

Olmsted County Sheriff's Office photo
Olmsted County Sheriff's Office photo
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The first Olmsted County deputy to arrive at the property found a pickup registered to Shillingford parked in the driveway and a trail of blood leading to the Colbert family home. The court record says the deputy then found Colbert on the floor with gunshot wounds to his torso and right arm. Colbert was pronounced dead at the scene.

A large search effort was then launched using officers from multiple law enforcement agencies and that led to the capture of Shillingford less than a half mile from the crime scene. The criminal complaint describes him as being "extremely belligerent" and yelling out random names. A 9 mm handgun was also recovered near where Shillingford was apprehended.

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