Deptford cop charged with murder in friend's death

Officer James Stuart and David Compton

January 11, 2013 1:38:19 PM PST
A Deptford, New Jersey police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his friend.

Officer James Stuart, 29, was charged on Friday in the death of 27-year-old David Compton, of Woodbury. Bail was originally set at $500,000, but was later reduced to $250,000.

Compton had been hospitalized since the shooting at 5:00 a.m. Saturday and died at 1:00 a.m.Friday after being removed from life support.

Investigators have offered few details about the circumstances of the shooting.

Under New Jersey criminal code, a charge of first-degree murder means the suspect had the intention, or knew their actions, would result in death or the murder was premeditated.

In a news release announcing the murder charge, the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office said Stuart and Compton "had known each other for several years and that the shooting incident was not random."

Sources previously told Action News that Stuart was holding the gun when it appears the weapon accidentally went off.

Stuart's lawyer previously said that the shooting was a "terrible accident" and Stuart was praying for his friend's recovery.

Stuart has been suspended from the force with pay.

Compton's family released a statement through their attorney announcing his death on Friday.

The statement read, in part, "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved son and brother, David. While it was our hope that David would be able to overcome the injuries he suffered, it has become apparent that, despite receiving the finest medical care, his injuries were just too severe."

The statement also said that Compton's organs would be donated.