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Retired Officer Won't Be Tried in Shooting Death of His Wife

October 21, 1998|JOHN CANALIS

A retired Los Angeles police officer, who in 1997 shot and killed his wife in their car while apparently trying to scare off a pair of suspicious men by waving a handgun, will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Tanizaki said there is not enough evidence to charge John D. MacWillie, 78, in the Sept. 8, 1997, shooting death of his wife, Phyllis J. MacWillie, 67.

"I am not saying this was an accidental shooting necessarily, but we cannot file charges with this particular evidence at this time," Tanizaki said.

Prosecutors reviewed a videotape of MacWillie's testimony to police and physical evidence. Tanizaki said there are no known witnesses.

MacWillie told authorities he was in the driver's seat of the couple's car on Warner Avenue when he saw two men glaring at him from a black sedan. MacWillie reached beneath his seat and pulled out a handgun he was licensed to carry.

He hoped to scare off the men, he told detectives, but the gun fired, striking his wife in the head. He drove to a video store parking lot and asked a clerk to call 911.

The MacWillies are parents of four sons, two of them police officers, and lived in Huntington Beach for more than 30 years.

MacWillie retired from the Los Angeles police about 30 years ago.

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