Woman sentenced for role in 2018 fatal shooting of a Clinton police officer

A 38-year-old Clinton woman who admitted to a role in the fatal shooting of a police officer has received a 20-year prison sentence.

Tammy D. Widger pleaded guilty in Henry County Circuit Court last month to second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance in connection to the March 6, 2018, incident where a Clinton police officer was killed.

She faced charges of first-degree murder, among other felonies, before the plea agreement.

According to Henry County Prosecutor Richard Shields, the parties agreed to 20 years on the second-degree murder count under the felony murder rule and seven years on the drug possession count. The sentences are set to run concurrently.

Police officers responded to Widger’s home in Clinton by mistake last year after a 911 call was made 20 miles away. A man inside the home, later identified as James Waters, fatally wounded Officer Christopher Ryan Morton and injured two others in a shooting, police said. Waters also died in the incident.

In an interview at the county jail after the incident, Widger told The Star that she never expected gunfire to break out and had no reason to believe officers were in danger that night when she allowed them inside the home. She also said she did not know Waters had a gun.

After the sentencing Friday, Shields maintained that Widger and Waters were involved in dealing drugs, leading to three officers being shot. Investigators found methamphetamine and other drugs in the home after the shooting, The Star previously reported.

Prosecutors can file felony murder charges against defendants accused of participating in a felony that led to a person being killed.

“Considering her involvement, I think it goes to show you that drugs are not a victimless crime,” Shields said.

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Kaitlyn Schwers covers breaking news and crime at night for The Kansas City Star. Originally from Willard, Mo., she spent nearly three years reporting in Arkansas and Illinois before returning to Missouri and joining The Star in 2017.