Authorities: Man Shot by Deptford Police Officer Dies

Deptford officer James Stuart is now charged with murder in the shooting of Woodbury resident David Compton, inside the officer's home.

Update, 4:05 p.m., 1/11/13: The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office on Friday afternoon clarified the bail status for Deptford Police Officer James Stuart. His bail is set at $250,000.

"Initially it was set at $500,000, but after a further review of the defendant’s circumstances, the court changed the amount to $250,000," the prosecutor's office said in a release. "The purpose of bail is to insure the defendant’s appearance in court when required."


A Woodbury man shot in the head by a Deptford police officer inside the officer's home died early Friday, and now the officer is charged with murder, prosecutors said. 

David Compton, 27, was taken off life support at Cooper University Hospital in Camden and died about 1 a.m. Friday, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office. 

Deptford Police Officer James Stuart, 29, was charged Friday with first-degree murder in Compton's death. 

He was taken into custody, and his bail was set at $500,000. 

Stuart was initially charged with two counts of aggravated assault in connection with the shooting, which happened about 5 a.m. Jan. 5, inside the officer's home in the 200 block of Stanford Avenue in Deptford. Compton suffered a single gunshot wound to the head. 

Stuart had been released from custody Jan. 5 after posting $10,000 bail on the assault charges. Stuart, a five-year police veteran, was suspended with pay from the Deptford Police Department following the incident. 

Compton and Stuart knew each other for several years, and the indicent was not random, said prosecutors, who have not disclosed a motive for the shooting. 

Bob January 12, 2013 at 04:05 PM
no we will never know the facts about the shooting ,I don't know about the Deptford Police Department, but the West Deptford police department , is full of corruption , I talked with the Chief of Police about a year ago about the conduct of 1 of his officers , he said half of his department is corrupt what you want him to do about it ,well I would fire them and hire new ones that aren't corrupt . they have officers that lie under oath ,and refuse people the rights .
John Cokos January 12, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Ditto in Deptford ...had a telephone call with a OPRA Attorney on another matter, who will remain annon, and the " Deptford is Dirty" quote came out of this mouth. Here's my take on this: I'm coming down with the "Blue Flu"on this one. Friends don't shoot "friends" in the head with a shotgun. Whatever went down and how....You and I would be rotting away in the basement in County with an Orange Jump Suit on. IF this happened while he was on duty, Deptford will face a $10 million Wrongful Death Suit, and I hope they get.The Insurance Carrier will probably drop our coverage, and we will turn into a rural "Deadwood" Wild West border town, if we aren't there already.
John Cokos January 12, 2013 at 04:26 PM
helpinghands, are YOU the policitically correct Thought Police on this story ?
John Q January 13, 2013 at 05:47 AM
Why is a man who shot someone in the head and charged with first degree murder given bail? New Jersey is seriously messed up.
emiliac January 13, 2013 at 02:57 PM
In my opinion bail is often determined by the race of the perpetrator. Although same sex couples do not escape domestic violence to assume these two friends were lovers is quite a leap. In addition I am banking on a pang of guilt possibly getting this guy to come clean and even plead guilty. Human beings do not usually kill their friends and sleep peacefully. Of course, I happen not to know anyone who has shot anyone and caused him/her to die. We might need better psychological testing for police.
Kenny J. January 13, 2013 at 03:50 PM
You should know that bail can be posted by a 'surety' from a bail bondsman at a premium of 10%. If his bail is $250,000 he only need post 10%, which of 25,000 instead of 250,000, but the bondsman keeps the money if he runs.
Jake Labrador January 13, 2013 at 04:52 PM
The only way to end this violence is to disarm the police
Dominick Palermo January 13, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Guns its those damn guns --------- Take away all the guns give the police hammers -- give the military swords and clubs
Dory Degen January 13, 2013 at 11:10 PM
i agree. that was sort of stupid.
Sal January 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM
" the officer was suspended____ " with pay "____ from the Deptford Police Department following the incident". Hello__WITH PAY?????? Suspending him "WITH PAY" is unfair and unreasonable to the Taxpayers. If after trial he is found innocent he can be given full Back Pay instead. If he is found Guilty of murder___he certainly is not going to repay the taxpayers of the town for the $100,000 plus continuance of his salary after he was arrested up until the trial is held years down the road. "Common Sense" tells me that the County Prosecutor would not have charged him with "FIRST" degree murder if there were any extenuating circumstances, such as the weapon discharged by mistake or the weapon was discharged because the gunshot victim went into a rage and attacked the officer..
William murphy January 13, 2013 at 11:34 PM
Jake and dominick sound like pathetic liberal jealous pansies
Sal January 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM
As usual___County Judges giving police officers special treatment and low bail is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary. Just as giving police officers extremely low sentences when found guilty is nothing unusual. If the shooter was not a police officers__the bail would have been set at well over $1 million. A man in Little Silver NJ was charged with murdering his wife. The man says he did not do it and he came home to find her murdered___yet he is being held on $2 million bail and there are no witnesses___just 'suspicions' that he murdered her.
John Q January 13, 2013 at 11:42 PM
Will the real John Q please stand up.
Sal January 13, 2013 at 11:45 PM
A few years back a Hazlet Twp. police officer was found guilty of stealing $20,000 from the PBA Youth Athletic fund. His sentence was NO JAIL TIME and 2 years probation only. Yet when a citizen breaks into a home and steals a few hundred dollars of belongings he normally is sentenced to a few years of jail time by Monmouth County judges. Yes indeed there is a Double Standard and no equal justice.
Carrie January 14, 2013 at 12:12 AM
A couple of years ago, there was a case where 3 men were charged with "attempted murder". One of those men is currently serving a sentence that will not allow him to get out for at least 10 years. Deptford had no problem releasing inacurate information about that poisioning the minds of the public, and turning neighbor against neighbor. Not to mention that the person they were charged with attacking was also accused of providing drugs to and beating one of the accused daughter. It really is unfairl that they are getting away with paying this man, especially without letting the people who are paying the taxed that pay the salaries of the police. Deptford residents need to set this right!
savannah churchill January 14, 2013 at 02:24 AM
corruption covers the whole united states of obamaca. it's getting worse every single day in this country. violence is running rampant and nothing is being done. bring back the 50's that's the way of life.didn't have to worry about locking your doors at night or getting mugged. condolences to the victims family.
John Q January 14, 2013 at 05:16 AM
This guys bail was lowered from $500,000 to $250,0000 due to his "circumstances." So if a person is charged with FIRST DEGREE MURDER and can't afford the original bail set by the court it should be lowered? This was decided less than 24 hours after the victim died? Citizens of West Deptford, the authorities are basically spitting in your face and asking you to smile and say thank you.
Y'all Crazy January 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM
@cindi....yes this man is scum. Anyone who murders someone else is definitely scum
John Cokos January 14, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Is Stuart in custody or out on bail ? Seems to be new's blackout on the topic..
cindi January 15, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Carrie. Those men made a decision to harm someone. A clear decision with the intent to harm another. The young man that was harmed was in critical condition. That is a totally different situation due to the fact of INTENT to HARM others. This case was an accident. And it is quite obvious that you do not know the law or that it is a stipulation that this officer was charged the way that he was. Which brings me to my next point. Do you know anything about the case ? I do not mean here say. I mean FACTS about the case. It is quite evident that you do NOT.
cindi January 15, 2013 at 04:46 AM
I will go a step further and say that you make me sick. Are you people not the same that say cops think that they are "above the law" ? Yet you hold them to a higher standard? Yes they are human too. They do make mistakes. Which is what had happened here. I would like to end this by giving my condolences to the family and friends of David Compton. It is a tragedy that you were taken from this Earth way too soon. May you rest in peace.
John Cokos January 15, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Cindi...since no one but you seems to have "The Facts' that no one so far has in their possession, would you share with us how you are able to glean the miraculous leaps of logic that the rest of us in the great unwashed are not privy too...?
cindi January 15, 2013 at 10:59 PM
I'm apparently a lot more involved in the cause. I pay attention. I do research. I do not just sit here and make accusations. I use my resources instead. That is more logical correct?
cindi January 15, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Oh and way to improperly use quotation marks :)
John Q January 16, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Could you please answer John Cokos's question? What information do you have that no else seems to know that will exonerate Stuart? From what I have read: 1. Stuart shot his longtime friend in the head at 5:00am on a Saturday morning. 2. The shooting was determined by the prosecuting attorney to be intentional. 3. Stuart's charges were upgraded from aggravated assault to first degree murder. What facts to you have that will prove Stuart's innocence? I'm not saying he is definitely guilty, but it looks pretty bad for him from the initial reports. Perhaps your knowledge could help him out?
cindi January 16, 2013 at 09:40 PM
John cokos did not really ask a logistical question. He was merely wishing that he had the facts like I did. I'd rather not state all of my facts. (I am not trying to screw up the case). But the path of the bullet is a big step. I know the law and the reason why he is being charged with what he is curently.(which may change by trial time). There is a certain stipulation that mandates the murder charge be given under the circumstance. However, that is most likely to change before trial. It is all about having knowledge about the law and using all resources available like I have previously stated. There is more to than just reading articles such as this online. That would not be using resources.
John Cokos January 16, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Where do I start ? What we have here is CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE .....the fact that so many people, so quickly, (including myself) will come to the IMMIDATE conclusion that they MUST be hiding something. It's a Systermic issue, goes to all level's of Gov. It's here, it's there, IT'S EVERYWHERE... As far as I'm concerned, you'll have to prove THAT YOUR NOT LYING (not YOU, but the local and other upper level's of authority) The debate for me not so much the endless details of this case, but the issue of transparency and Trust. They have to work hard for that...
Mr. Mef February 14, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Stuart is openly gay and they WERE lovers. If you meet Stuart on the street and ask him is he gay he will most certainly say yes. He has been openly gay since high school at Deptford High. He murdered that man and he deserves to rott in jail. He was a member of the corrupt Deptford Police department and thought he could get away with it. I personally had encounters with him where he illegally pulled me over and and gave me false tickets. He, like most of the Deptford Police Department, thinks that they are above the law and can't be touched. I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail but we all know that's not going to happen.
John Burress February 16, 2013 at 12:24 AM
Latest story on this case. Not sure why westdeptfordpatch won't provide updates. If they have and I missed it I do apologize. The family of a Woodbury engineer allegedly killed last month by an off-duty Deptford Township patrolman is challenging the officer's suggestion - in an emergency call early on the morning of the fatal shooting in the officer's home - that the victim might have shot himself. James Stuart, 29, of Deptford, was first charged with two counts of aggravated assault after his friend David Compton, 27, was shot once in the head on Jan. 5. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office upgraded the charge to murder on Jan. 11 after Compton was taken off life support. In a recently released transcript and audio that included the 31/2-minute emergency call Stuart made to his department seeking an ambulance, the officer said to a dispatcher: "We had a, a, a man, he was, ah, playing with a weapon, it was loaded and, ah, he, there was a shot fired." In a statement released Thursday through a lawyer, the Compton family said: "It is our understanding that the version of the shooting that Mr. Stuart provided to the dispatcher from his own police department is not supported by the evidence obtained thus far by the investigators from [the] Prosecutor's Office. This is why we believe Mr. Stuart is currently facing murder charges." Update continued below.
John Burress February 16, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Stuart said during his call that Compton "was playing with one of my weapons," but did not say who the shooter was. "I don't know how it happened," he said. Last Friday, authorities complied with a Superior Court order to release the transcript of the call after redacting Compton's words heard in the call. Stuart's attorney, James Eastlack Jr., had sought to prevent the South Jersey Media group from getting the recording. On Wednesday, authorities, complying with a second court order, released the call's audio, again without Compton's words. Eastlack could not be reached Thursday. While emergency calls are generally public record, Compton's words "are protected by a reasonable expectation of privacy, both his and his family's," Superior Court Judge Georgia M. Curio said during a January proceeding. Compton's family has declined to be interviewed. The family said it appreciated Curio's sensitivity in ordering that the transcript and audio of Stuart's "self-serving call to his own department" be released only in edited formats and that their release "has forced us to relive this horrific event once again." Link to story: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130215_Survivors_reject_Deptford_officer_s_suggestion_that_victim_may_have_shot_himself.html


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