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Chang Ho Yi found only 35 percent responsible for shooting shoplifter in face

It's a suitably strange conclusion to a bizarre case.

Back in December 2012, we told you about a lawsuit filed by Bryson Dewberry against Chang Ho Yi, a liquor store owner who'd shot him in the face after he'd shoplifted a bottle of Grey Goose vodka.

Now, a jury has determined that Yi was only 35 percent responsible for the incident -- so Dewberry will receive nothing.

Get the weird details below.

As we've reported, the original incident took place at Austin Bluffs Plaza Liquor in the Springs on October 25, 2010.

On that evening, according to the lawsuit (obtained by the Colorado Springs Gazette), Dewberry snatched some Grey Goose and ran to car parked nearby. Yi took off after him, armed with a .357 revolver, and opened fire, striking Dewberry as he sat in the backseat of the vehicle.

The bullet traced a path from his torso to his jaw before blowing a hole through his cheek. At the time, cops said the bullet eventually wound up in the leg of a passenger, age seventeen.

Here's a look at Dewberry afterward, in an image shared by CBS4:

Chang Ho Yi found only 35 percent responsible for shooting shoplifter in face

Afterward, Yi didn't report the shooting: The police only learned about it after Dewberry and the teenager showed up at an area hospital and told their side of the tale.

And when investigators quizzed Yi, the Gazette reports that he claimed not to know anything about such an incident and insisted that he couldn't have taken part in it anyhow, since he didn't have a gun.

That both of these claims were false no doubt contributed to Yi's arrest on an attempted murder charge -- because the state's Make My Day law permits business owners and homeowners to shoot in self-defense, but not if they're under no personal threat and are simply protecting their property.

Once the facts of the case were shared with a grand jury, though, the El Paso District Attorney's Office decided against charging him, presumably because of the difficulty involved in winning a conviction under such muddy circumstances.

In a later interview, Yi told the Gazette he'd initially lied to the cops because he thought they were on Dewberry's side -- and besides, he'd hit his head and didn't really know what he was doing while pulling the trigger.

Continue for more about the Chang Ho Yi ruling, including additional photos.  

On top of that, Yi said he still felt traumatized by a 2009 robbery during which he was shot in the gut and the assailant was never caught.

He also spoke about his background as a Green Beret wounded in the line of duty, but that turned out to be bogus. Military records noted by the Gazette show that he was never in special forces and worked as a truck mechanic.

Presumably, Dewberry, who was said to have had "repeated run-ins with the law" during the couple of years prior to the shooting, felt Yi got off too easily. The suit claims the liquor store owner "recklessly and negligently" used a gun against someone who presented no physical danger to him.

The reported result of the gun-down was $142,000 in medical bills for Dewberry, not including the cost for another surgery he's said to need in order to correct a speech impediment.

The jury charged with weighing the case certainly had a difficult task, given that there clearly was questionable behavior on all sides. As such, the members wound up splitting the baby -- and not down the middle.

The latest Gazette piece on the case says jurors assigned 65 percent of the blame for what happened to Dewberry and just 35 percent to Yi.

The result, Dewberry's attorney told the paper, is that Yi won't have to pay anything -- not even the $830.62 in economic loss jurors determined that Dewberry had incurred as a result of taking a bullet over a $30 bottle of booze.

Look below to see a mug shot of Dewberry -- one presumably taken before he was shot -- as well as Yi's original booking photo.

Bryson Dewberry.
Bryson Dewberry.
Chang Ho Yi.
Chang Ho Yi.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Robert Wallace shooting: Make My Day law meets Gran Torino."


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