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Suspect in New Meadows shootout pleads not guilty

William "Bill" Pearle James, 24, is accused of trying to kill two Adams County deputies in March.
Credit: Adams County Sheriff's Office
Booking photo of William James.

NEW MEADOWS, Idaho — A Cambridge man who was the subject of a week-long manhunt has pleaded not guilty to trying to kill two Adams County deputies in a shootout in March.

William "Bill" Pearle James, 24, pleaded not guilty to all charges May 15. He faces two counts each of attempted murder, assault on an officer, and assault with intent to commit a serious felony. 

James is accused of opening fire on the two deputies after they were called out to his mother's home in New Meadows on March 29. The suspect's mother had told authorities that James was on her property in violation of a protection order.

Investigators say James started shooting at the deputies from an outbuilding, pinning them down behind their patrol car. An off-duty Idaho Department of Fish and Game officer who happened to be nearby jumped in to help, firing his own gun at the shooter.

At that point, according to authorities, James turned and ran into the woods. He was captured a week later after returning to his mother's property.

James is currently held in the Adams County Jail on a $2.5 million bond. A trial in the case is set for December 18.

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