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EX-DEPUTY WON'T BE CHARGED.

Byline: Holly Edwards Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - A former sheriff's deputy accused of pulling a gun on a Valencia man during a traffic dispute showed ``immature judgment for a police officer,'' but will not be criminally charged, a prosecutor said.

Former Deputy Kerry Allen Winterrowd's expected claim of self-defense, conflicting witness statements and questions about his accuser's credibility led the District Attorney's Office to reject the case for prosecution, Deputy District Attorney John Gilligan said Monday.

Winterrowd, who worked at Peter J. Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, was off-duty when the conflict occurred just after 4 p.m. Oct. 2. Winterrowd has since resigned from the Sheriff's Department, Gilligan said.

Daniel Owens, 22, was driving a Ford Mustang westbound on McBean Parkway when he pulled in front of Winterrowd's Jeep, according to Gilligan's report.

While Owens claimed Winterrowd nearly struck his rear bumper, Winterrowd said Owens cut him off and nearly caused a collision. Both stated that they stopped at the intersection of Orchard Village Road and exchanged threats and profanities, Gilligan said.

The two men then got out of their vehicles near the intersection of Stevenson Ranch Road and The Old Road and were seen shouting and shoving each other by numerous witnesses, he said.

While Owens claimed Winterrowd placed a gun to his head, there are no witnesses to corroborate that, Gilligan said.

Instead, several witnesses reported that Winterrowd flashed his gun and badge at Owens and then put them away, he said.

In a criminal case, Gilligan said Winterrowd would almost certainly claim he used his gun and badge to get Owens to stop attacking him. And, he said, Owens' credibility is undermined because he has been identified as a gang member by Sheriff's Department officials and is on probation for battery on a spouse or girlfriend.

Because of the likely success of Winterrowd's self-defense claim, the conflicting statements of witnesses and Owens' credibility gap, Gilligan said his office declined to file charges.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 19, 2000
Words:326
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