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Suspect in officer's fatal shooting has lengthy criminal past

James Waters in and out of prison for felonies
Posted at 6:40 PM, Mar 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 00:10:00-05

CLINTON, Mo. — He's accused of killing Clinton Police Officer Christopher Ryan Morton and injuring two other officers in a Tuesday night shooting rampage.

James E. Waters, 37, of Clinton has a long criminal history dating back to his late teen years.

The 41 Action News Investigators found Missouri court records showing Waters has pled guilty to multiple felonies and has been in and out of prison several times.

Those records show Waters pled guilty to felony robbery in 2000.

A few years later, he pled guilty in a 2004 drug case.

Then in 2008, the Buchanan County Drug Task Force arrested Waters in St. Joseph. Waters then pled guilty to trafficking in drugs. He was sentenced to nine years in prison, but he didn't stay that long.

Less than six years later, in July 2014, Waters was sentenced to three year years in prison for resisting arrest by fleeing police and putting people at risk of injury or death.

His trouble with the law continued just a few months ago.

As a convicted felon, Waters isn't supposed to have a gun. But this past November, he was charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm and marijuana possession.

That case is pending with the next scheduled court date in Cass County set for April 26.

But with Waters death, that case becomes moot.

According to law enforcement, Waters is also part of an ongoing rape investigation.