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18 year old facing 1st degree murder charges for "defending" his property

An 18 year old freshman at my college is facing one count of 1st degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder. It seems to me he was angry and shot at a fleeing vehicle which contained occupants whom he believed just broken into his truck. Now I’m not sure if he should be charged with excessive force but I believe 1st degree murder to be a blatant overcharge on this young man. The link to the story will be at the bottom of this post and I would like to have other opinions on this situation. The 15 year olds who were shot do not seem to be innocent to me but I do not wish death upon them, this appears to be a lose-lose situation. In the article the comment section contains comments from the mom of one of the “victims” justifying and rationalizing the delinquency of said “victims.” This is one of her comments:

"Maybe this will help clear things up for everybody: Jon Bellamy 27 minutes ago Just to put an end to all of the rumors and speculation about the events leading up to Saturday night's tragedy, I wanted to let everyone know what really happened. After being at the parade Saturday, William and a few friends gathered at one of the boys' house, and were all planning on spending the night there. Austin lives near the house where the boys were, and unfortunately, left his house, without his parents knowing, to walk over and join them. As the night got later, Austin decided he needed to head back home, and was about to walk back. William told him that there was no way he was going to let him walk back, alone, at that time of night. So Cole and William asked the older brother of the friend whose house they were at if they could use his truck to take Austin home a few blocks away. Neither Cole, nor William, knew exactly where Austin lived, so Austin gave them directions as they went. Once they got near Austin's house, they slowed down as Austin was pointing out which house it was, and the next thing they knew, bullets were flying thorough the truck. That is all that happened. No matter what anyone says, reads, or hears on the news, none of what happened Saturday night has ANYTHING to do with car break-ins, drug deals gone bad, or any of the other ridiculous things that are being said. The only thing these 3 kids did wrong was end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, NOTHING else. Cole and William were trying to do the right thing, and had nothing but the safety of their friend in mind. I don't want to get into too many graphic details, but these boys should be lauded as heroes. Once this tragedy happened, neither William, nor Cole, had any idea how to even get out of the neighborhood, so any rumors about any of them having anything to do with any break-ins in November or December, are completely base-less. William actually had to punch in his friend's (where he was staying) address in his phone to find their way out of the neighborhood. And Cole, also being injured, was able to get the 3 of them to the hospital, under what anybody with a pulse would determine to be horrific circumstances. If that's not heroic, nothing is. And I would hope that all of the people starting rumors and spreading lies will realize that the shooter is being charged with FIRST DEGREE murder, and 2 counts of attempted FIRST DEGREE murder. There is a reason the charges are what they are. IF anyone was doing what the speculation says they were doing, the charges would be different. I will add this, as my son is my best friend in the world! As every father out there that has seen your son in pain knows....it's a miserable feeling. For all that know him, you know he has a heart bigger than most. Not many kids have an out pouring support of 300+ kids and parents at his side during an event like this. At the same time, what sickens me is the media and their pitiful cry for stories. For a kid to be in a hospital with 24 hour security, having to use an alias because of the media is disgusting. We have had media calling, acting as doctors, to get information. It's your job, you look for a story...but you suck. He has a bullet lodged in his jaw that entered through the back of his neck. It missed every major artery and vessel that was an ABSOLUTE MIRACLE! With that said, I will let my anger send a message through the "Social Media" and hope it gets back to the POS coward SETH FONTENOT that killed one child and has threatened the lives of my child and his friend Cole. When you go to trial, regardless of what type of plea and lies your POS attorney say, the facts are out buddy and you have NO way of avoiding what is deservedly coming to you. I will leave it at that! To all of my FB friends, please share and/or re-post this. Its WAY past time for these kids to be acknowledged as the victims they are. Plain and simple. Thanks in advance." Her screen name is "The Equalizer"

My biggest problem with her story is that she says these kids were completely innocent. First off they’re 15 driving a truck past curfew. That’s two laws broken right there. She claims that the “victims” house was only a few blocks away from the house they were having a “sleepover” at. I believe this sleepover was probably more of a party; teenage boys don’t have sleepovers at 15 that stops around 12. So these kids were driving a truck only a few blocks away from their house, but according to her they have no clue how to get to the house. Why do they not know how to get to their friend’s house only a few blocks away? Then they have no clue how to get out of the neighborhood. I can understand this being due to the shock of being shot at, but if it’s only a few blocks away from their house I would think they would know how to get of their own neighborhood. I am just worried this 18 year old will be facing the death penalty unjustly.

Source of story: http://theadvocate.com/home/5151634-125/lafayette-one-teen-d...



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How DARE He!

...shoot at the back of a fleeing car! Who the hell does he think he is - an LAPD officer?!

The sad thing is

People will now split themselves into a contest of persuasion on who's to blame, rather than ask "What went wrong?" and "Why did it happen?"

A news report is not entirely reliable, as there will inveitably be omissons both intentional or unintentional - i.e., the missing pieces. People who rely on such articles will inevitably come to opinion-based conclusions rather than ones based on fact - like it has in the Rodney King case (omission of video evidence, leading to riots). It is amazing how even the small fragments can transform a case. Only the homicide investigators have full access to the evidence.

I also expect gun control advocates to seize the opportunity to drown out the tragedy itself.

It's a loss for everyone.

I believe in the freedom to be what we choose to be.

No.7's picture

You can' shoot someone running away

You can follow if you choose, but that's not smart either.

You cannot shoot anyone unless they present a clear and present danger to you. This person is definitely guilty of attempted murder.

The individual who refuses to defend his rights when called by his Government, deserves to be a slave, and must be punished as an enemy of his country and friend to her foe. - Andrew Jackson

they always trump up charges so you'll plea

shooting at a fleeing car probably not the smartest move..

Government is supposed to protect our freedom, our property, our privacy, not invade it. Ron Paul 2007

Sad situation

These 15 year old kids should not have been out at 2am (my parents never allowed anything close to that).

The 18 year old was trigger happy and used poor judgement.

Because of these adolescent mistakes one child is dead.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Defending property

Louisiana allows the use of deadly force in self-defense or defense of others to “prevent a violent or forcible felony involving danger to life or great bodily harm.” People also can shoot intruders inside a home, business or car even if there is no such threat — and need not make any effort to retreat.

But I can see nothing that allows you to fire shots at a suspect who is fleeing.

Mark27

Agreed

He became the aggressor when they fled and he then acted. The others shouldn't be looked at like victims though, they put themselves in that situation by becoming criminals.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

Click Here To See The Candidates On The Record

Your name "Verrater".

Means "traitor" or "beytrayer" in German.

Interesting.

Verräter actually

But yeah I've been called that enough when people claim I'm a traitor for hating our government or even disagreeing with it. If you've ever been in a conversation with a neocon, I'm sure you've been called worse. I embraced that term, because in many ways we're all traitors and patriots.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."

Click Here To See The Candidates On The Record

Sounds like

they told their parents that they were having a sleepover but were out breaking into cars. They met up with the wrong owner, pretty obvious. Kids do it all the time, most of the time someone wakes up to a busted window, missing radio and belongings and is pretty upset. Sometimes they wake up while it's happening and then this can happen.

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero, www.freedomshift.blogspot.com

I think your connection to the shooter

Is causing you to have an emotional bias regarding this situation.

He shot at a FLEEING vehicle. The way I was raised... that is NOT considered "defense." I'm sure there is more to it than the 15yo's parent is admitting but with the details given I can not with a clear conscience say this was justified. Teenagers make stupid decisions... it doesn't justify shooting at a fleeing vehicle. Maybe I'm missing something. If so please tell me. The decision to take another persons life is not something to take lightly and should be avoided when possible. To me it looks like it was avoidable in this situation.

At what point does it cease being "defense" and start being "vigilantism?"

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie

My only emotional connection to him

is that we attend the same college. I do not think he was defending himself which is why I put "defense" in quotations. Some might consider him defending his property if they are taking off with it but I happen to agree with you that he was shooting at a fleeing vehicle and was more an act of aggression than defense. Even if he was attending to kill these kids when firing, it would be a spur of the moment thing and not premeditated worthy of 1st degree murder. I think he is being extremely overcharged which is one of the reasons why I brought this article on here. Now maybe I am mistaken at that and if proven to me I would happily admit me being wrong. But 1st degree could bring this kid a death penalty charge or life in prison (Which leads the question which is worse slow prolonged death or quick almost painless death) which I do not believe he deserves for this act. Again someone could change my opinion or make me look at it in a different way and I would happily change my tune and admit I'm wrong.

sounds like manslaughter

sounds like manslaughter to me....

Think for yourself......Question authority...

I agree with you then...

I do not think a jury would rule in favor of 1st degree murder in this case. I expect he will be found guilty on a significantly lesser charge and be out in 10-15... maybe even less with "good behavior." Hopefully it won't even be that much... like I said, teenagers make stupid decisions (his falls into that category too).

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie

Being charged

Being charged, and getting convicted of first degree murder are different. Your friend has the opportunity to make their case, and that is what we all should agree on.

If what you say is true, then I hope justice is balanced.

Agreed.

They are really going for 3rd degree.

"My biggest problem with her

"My biggest problem with her story is that she says these kids were completely innocent. First off they’re 15 driving a truck past curfew. That’s two laws broken right there."

Really? Wow. No offense but you sound like a huge statist right there.

"She claims that the “victims” house was only a few blocks away from the house they were having a “sleepover” at. I believe this sleepover was probably more of a party..."

Again, who cares?

So far it's a case of "he said, he said" with no real evidence brought to light. I'm not sure why you chose to pick a side in such a case. Or bring it here for that matter.

It should be easy enough to find out if the kids prints are on the truck. But even if these 15 yr olds were trying to break into the truck, is that really justification in your mind for KILLING them? Is that something you think Dr. Paul would do?

Edit: I'll also add that I don't think the death penalty is right either.

he didn't pick a side

Merely stated the obvious. Would you let underage children go driving around at night? In my day we had to sneak out to do that. (I'm not taking a side) I don't have an opinion at all on this case. Why do we all feel that we have to weigh in on every single story? Bad things happen every day. Good things happen every day. Nobody on this site was in the truck or even in the neighborhood so we will just have to sit here and argue over second-hand info, I guess.

Ok I can see where you're coming from

on the statist. I did not say I agreed with the curfew laws, merely stating facts that these kids did not respect those laws. I care about it being a party instead of a sleepover if alcohol was being consumed by these kids that would make them be breaking 3 or 4 laws and be endangering others lives by drinking and driving. Again I never thought these kids should have been shot or killed and that is why I put "defend" in quotations for the title. The kids were driving away when he shot at the car which some would argue as excessive force.

And I really don't understand you're questioning of me putting this article and my opinion on here where we are supposed to be discussing our opinions and ideas. And as for what I'd think Dr. Paul would do does have some merit being as this is a forum with his name in the title, but I don't live my life by What Would Dr. Paul Do. I do respect his opinions more than most but I try to live an independent life.

I said

"The 15 year olds who were shot do not seem to be innocent to me but I do not wish death upon them, this appears to be a lose-lose situation"
So I don't see where you get me wanting these kids to be dead from. I brought it here because like everyone on here we have opinions, like to speculate, and have discussions about such things. No offense taken to the statist mark but wondering how that works what made me sound like a statist. I'm not saying your wrong I quite possibly did but you didn't explain what made me sound like that.

I love this site because I learn so much from reading all the articles and discussions, this is my 2nd post on here and it took a lot of courage from me to do that because I fear sounding stupid compared to other people which is something I know I should get over. I'm part of another forum called Politix where I post plenty because the people all there aren't all daily Paul and pro-Ron Paul libertarians so I know I have a better chance defending my stances on there because I do believe the intellect level here at the Daily Paul to be much much higher than almost any other forum. So please educate me where I'm being a statist for stating my opinions on this case. I have no connections to any party an chose his side because he can face the death penalty for his actions and that does not seem just to me.

You may be right about the

You may be right about the story having holes in it, but the commenter's point was that "two laws broken" does not equate to the kids being bad or uninnocent. They're victimless crimes. Do you support laws keeping 15-year-olds under state curfew, or preventing them from driving the day before their 16th birthday, while allowing it the day after? That is, do you think they should be locked up or shot for driving at night because of an arbitrarily chosen age limit? If your answer is no, you have no reason to suspect any wrongdoing. Same with the "sleepover" - unless you think these kids should be locked in a cage or shot for going to a party, there is nothing suspicious about it on its face.

Like I said, you may be right that the mom is biased and telling a suspect story. But as the commenter said, you're just playing he said she said.

Raleigh, NC

I contend

I am playing he said she said, but isn't that what we do most of the time on here with stories. We take the evidence most of the time heresay and formulate our opinions based on this. I realized my mistake at the curfew laws/driving age and commented on that back to him. I do think we need a test to be able to drive and some laws regulating driving age or competence of being able to drive so to an extent the answer to that question is yes. I did not say I think these kids should be locked in a cage or shot for going to a party. I did not even say that I think these kids should be shot when I said "I do not believe that it is right for these kids to be killed for stealing from the truck" however I would be alright with that if he was in the truck and felt is life being threatened while in the truck. I fear I should have taken more time when writing my opinion on this when originally posting.

It's all good,

you are just giving your opinion which is neither right nor wrong ;)
You are correct, the whole situation is just super sad, no winners here. However, if my son was killed, I would want that young adult punished to the full extent of the law, other than death penalty. What is 15 years when that child will never see another day? Makes me sick but I have a 15 year old son myself (he still has sleepovers, lol) and I just can't imagine my son being killed when he was leaving...no matter what stupid thing those boys did before that.

The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
-Thomas Paine