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Steelville Man Accused in River Shooting Faces Hearing

James CrockerSTEELVILLE, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man accused of shooting a man who was part of a float trip group faces a preliminary hearing on Friday.

James Crocker of Steelville is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 48-year-old Paul Dart Jr.

The shooting happened in July after Crocker spotted a member of the Meramec River float trip party urinating on a gravel bar that Crocker considered part of his property. That led to an argument between Crocker and a group of people. Authorities say Crocker shot into the crowd after some of the men approached him with rocks. Dart was the only one hit.

Defense attorney Michael Bert says Crocker felt threatened and had been hit in the head by a rock. He says Crocker was defending himself and his property.

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