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Charges dropped against Ruby Ridge FBI sniper

BONNER'S FERRY, Idaho (CNN) -- The FBI sharpshooter who killed a white separatist's wife in the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff will not be tried for manslaughter, an Idaho prosecutor said Thursday.

Boundary County Prosecutor Brett Benson said he would ask a judge Friday to dismiss the charges against FBI agent Lon Horiuchi. The move comes barely a week after a federal appeals court ruled Horiuchi could be tried for manslaughter.

"Based upon the entirety of the circumstances surrounding this criminal action, it is unlikely the state will be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the criminal act set forth in the information on file," Benson's office argued in court papers.

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State of Idaho v. Horiuchi
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Horiuchi wounded Randy Weaver and killed his wife, Vicki, in a shootout at the couple's cabin in Ruby Ridge in 1992. A day earlier, Weaver's armed 14-year-old son, Sam, was killed in a gun battle with a U.S. marshal, who also died.

Benson inherited the case from the previous prosecutor, Denise Woodbury, who brought the manslaughter charge against Horiuchi in 1997.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh -- who was executed Monday -- had cited Ruby Ridge and the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, as reasons he carried out his 1995 bombing that left 168 people dead.

The federal government had argued the "supremacy clause" in the U.S. Constitution prohibited a state from prosecuting a federal agent for lawfully carrying out his official duties. But on June 5, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that immunity was limited.

If an agent acts in an "objectively unreasonable manner, those limits are exceeded and a state may bring criminal prosecution," the court concluded.


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