Should Father Who Shoots 17-Year-Old “Intruder” Face Prosecution?

A Texas father (whose name hasn’t yet been released) wishes he can turn back the clock.  He may face serious criminal charges for fatally shooting a teenage boy.  The 17-year-old was snuck into the bedroom of the father’s 16-year-old daughter.  When the father walked into his daughter’s room and sees the teen boy, he quickly turned to his daughter to find out who he was.  His daughter apparently responded, “I don’t know.”   Then an argument took place between the father and the teen, named Johran McCormick.  The father then claims he saw the teen drop his hands like he was grabbing something.

The father claims he was in fear at that moment.  As a result, he opened fire on McCormick.  He died on the scene.

The mother of the deceased teen is understandably livid.  She told one reporter, “I would like my baby back, but I know that’s not possible, He didn’t deserve to die like that.”

After the shooting, the father complained that he wasn’t feeling well.  He was immediately transported to the hospital, suffering from a panic attack.

So what should happen to the father?  Let’s start the analysis with acknowledging what a tragedy this is.  The teen shouldn’t have died.  But the question is whether the father should be criminally charged with his death.  If so, the next question is what should the charge be?

I suspect the father will argue that when he heard his daughter claim that she didn’t know the guy in her bedroom, the father feared that the teen was an intruder.  In that moment, whether the teen was reaching for a condom wrapper or a weapon or something else, it would be difficult for the father to discern what it was, under those stressful circumstances.  He has a strong argument that the shooting was justified, albeit an unfortunate tragedy.

If prosecutors do charge him, it appears that the worst that he should face is one count of Manslaughter.  Murder would require premeditation.  While premeditation can be formed in an instant, the facts of this case seem to warrant a Manslaughter charge, at worst.  If charged, he’d be forced to articulate to a Texas jury what he felt when he was forced to shoot.  The burden would fall on him to successfully claim self defense.

In this case, as in all criminal cases, prosecutors have the right to use their “prosecutorial discretion” and choose not to bring charges.  They may want to use it in this case depending on the evidence that’s presented to them.  I recommend that they give the father a “King For A Day” letter and allow him to come in to speak with them without anything that he says being used against him.  Let prosecutors hear what the father’s version is.  Based upon that, they may choose not to proceed.  Without me eyeballing the father and hearing what he has to say, there’s no way I can fairly opine that charges should or shouldn’t be filed.

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