DA declines to charge Kingman man in fatal shooting

A Kingman resident accused of second-degree murder in the death of his neighbor will not be prosecuted, authorities said.

James Clifton Craft, 70, was jailed after he shot and killed Matthew James Paulson, 27, on Jan. 22.

Deputy Mohave County attorney Jacob Cote said there are several reasons why he decided not to charge the case, though Paulson was not armed and did not assault Craft.

Cote said a change in Arizona law a few years ago shifted the burden to the state to prove there is no reasonable claim of self-defense in fatal shootings.

He concluded Paulson’s extensive criminal history, bizarre and belligerent behavior before the shooting and the fear exhibited by Craft were factors he thinks would have produced a jury determination of self-defense and that the shooting was justified.

Cote said witnesses told investigators Paulson screamed racial slurs and acted erratic in the neighborhood before he turned his tirade toward Craft.

He said Craft has stated that Paulson was moving toward him and that he fired when Paulson was within 4 feet of his doorstep at a triplex in the 3500 block of Dove Lane.