Moberly man pleads not guilty in death of neighbor

Posted at 4:39 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 17:39:16-04

MOBERLY, Mo. — A Moberly man pleaded not guilty Wednesday in the shooting death of a man who he believed was selling drugs to children, prosecutors said.

Jerry Fitzwater, 79, is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting of 49-year-old Mitchell Nickerson on July 8 in Moberly.

Nickerson died a few days after he was shot.

According to a probable cause statement, Fitzwater told police he shot Nickerson because he believed Nickerson was selling drugs to children and he wanted to "take matters into his own hands," KMIZ-TV reported.

Moberly Police Department Chief Troy Link told the station on the day of the shooting that his department had previously spoken with Fitzwater about his concerns and asked for evidence of the claims.

Fitzwater is being held without bond.

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