Man convicted in 2021 Springfield Speedway shooting died at jail following life sentence

Emil Witherspoon.

Combined ShapeCaption
Emil Witherspoon.

A 44-year-old man was found dead at the Clark County Jail on Friday just hours after he was sentenced for the murder of a man during a Springfield Speedway gas station shooting that injured three others in 2021, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.

On Wednesday, Emil Witherspoon of Springfield was found guilty of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, four counts of felonious assault, three counts of attempted murder and tampering with evidence in connection to the July 10 shooting, according to court records.

He was sentenced to life in prison without parole around 9 a.m. Friday. Shortly after the sentencing, Witherspoon was found unresponsive in his cell at the Clark County Jail at roughly 11:25 a.m. while deputies were performing routine cell checks, said Clark County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Kris Shultz.

Shultz said that deputies and jail nursing staff attempted life saving measures on Witherspoon, and Springfield Fire and EMS also responded to the jail. Witherspoon was pronounced dead later by Springfield Regional Medical Center.

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Shultz said that Witherspoon’s injuries were consistent with self-harm, but the official cause of death has not been determined by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Clark County Coroner’s Office are investigating his death.

“We’re doing a full and thorough investigation,” said Shultz, adding there was no indication of “despondence” or a plan of self-harm by Witherspoon prior to him being discovered in his cell.

Witherspoon was given a mental health evaluation in August after entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, and the he was found fit to stand trial, according to court records.

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Police said Witherspoon shot Antoine Crooks, 32, at a Speedway in the 400 block of South Burnett Road on July 10. The shooting was described by police as an “instance of domestic violence.”

Tiffany Brugler, 41, of Springfield, Witherspoon’s ex-girlfriend, a 6-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl also were shot. All three survived their injuries.

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