BONNER COUNTY, Idaho — The Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney has determined that the shooting death of 39-year-old Joshua Matthew Cole on Oct. 12, 2018, was a “justifiable homicide” carried out in self-defense.
Cole died after being shot by 41-year-old Jimila Hall in the Clagstone area outside of Spirit Lake, according to a letter from Louis E. Marshall, Bonner County Prosecuting Attorney.
Hall shot Cole in her driveway after he approached her and her 70-year-old mother Theresa. Robert Johnson, a man who Cole had allegedly began chasing after as Johnson drove away, said Cole then approached Hall and her mother, according to the letter.
Cole ran shirtless toward the two with his fists clenched and Hall armed herself with a baseball bat and handgun. Marshall said in his letter that the fact Hall grabbed a bat and not only a gun showed that she did not intend to kill Cole.
Despite Hall telling the man to stop, he continuing running at them, at which point Theresa threw rocks at Cole in an effort to stop him. As he got closer, Cole told the pair “I’m going to get you,” according to the letter.
Hall fired a shot at Cole when he got within approximately five feet of her, striking him in the chest and killing him, according to the letter. Hall began life-saving measures but Cole later passed away as a result of the gunshot.
When detectives arrived on-scene, they corroborated Hall’s claims about Cole’s actions before he passed and Cole told officers he had multiple alcoholic beverages that day. An autopsy found his blood-alcohol level to be .233.
Due to Hall’s attempts to get Cole to stop approaching her and her mother, Marshall said “the act of using deadly force by Jimila Hall was, in this circumstance, reasonable.”
The Bonner County Coroner has confirmed that Cole was shot in the back. The family said that is something they believe is essential in showing that he wasn't the aggressor.
Cole's family claims another factor was at play: race. Hall and her mother were black and Cole's family thinks the women stereotyped him as a racist skinhead.
Detectives said that wasn't the case.
Detectives discovered various previous charges of violent acts against women by Cole, according to Marshall’s letter. Cole's sister denied that he committed crimes against women and said he had turned his life around.