Judge sentences Aurora, Mo. man after plea in deadly officer-involved shooting

AURORA, Mo. -- An Aurora, Mo. man charged in a deadly officer-involved shooting case will spend ten years in prison after pleading guilty.

Savannah Hill died in the officer-involved shooting in May of 2018 in the city limits of Aurora. Mason Farris faced a second-degree murder charge after police fatally shot her during an arrest. The judge sentenced Farris to seven years in prison after accepting a plea deal for a charge of resisting arrest. The judge also sentenced him to another three years in prison for a separate resisting arrest charge.

Lawrence County Prosecutor Don Trotter says he worked out the plea with the family after concerns over witnesses in the case. Trotter says it was a witness-dependent case.

Farris happened to be a passenger in a car driven by Hill. Police say another passenger in Hill's car called an off-duty detective saying Hill was about to pick up Farris, a known fugitive of the law. She told the officers they were heading to White Park.

Hill later called and advised officers she was inside a bathroom at a convenience store off of U.S. 60. In court documents, police say she warned them Farris would likely run from officers in a normal arrest. Hill on the phone told police she would drive on U.S. 60 toward Verona, Mo. Hill said she would then stop the car and activate the child locks when officers attempted to pull her over.

Two marked police cars pulled over at 1020 West South Street a short time later. As officers approached the car, they noticed Farris was trying to exit it. Officers say they then noticed Farris moving toward the front of the car because the doors were locked. The car then accelerated in reverse, hitting one of the officers. The second officer then fired shots into the car to stop the threat. The gunshots struck Hill. She died two days later.

Police say they interviewed another woman in the car. In court documents, she told officers Farris yelled, "Don't Stop." She then said he pushed Hill's leg down onto the accelerator. She said she tried to then push the car into park.

In court documents, police claim Farris admitted he ran from officers a few nights before, fearing he would go back to prison. Farris had served time on theft and drug-related convictions.

The Missouri Highway Patrol ruled the shooting justified.