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Man sentenced to life in prison for murdering Hancock County deputy

Photo courtesy of the Hancock County Sheriff's Department

A Mississippi Gulf Coast man has been sentenced to life behind bars after killing a police officer.

Joseph Michael Rohrbacker, 33 was charged with shooting and killing Hancock County Deputy Michael Boutte, 57, on February 1, 2021.

Boutte was shot twice and died from shotgun fire to his head while he was in his squad car. Rohrbacker claims that he was shooting in the air, hoping to die from suicide by law enforcement – not the other way around.

After initially pleading guilty to shooting the officer in March 2021, Rohrbacker eventually pled guilty to capital murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated assault of a police officer.

Rohrbacker is now sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole as well as 20 years in prison for aggravated assault on a neighbor and 30 years for aggravated assault on the second deputy at the scene that day. Those sentences were ordered to run simultaneously.

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