Skip to comments.Grand jury: city homicide justifiable
Posted on 05/07/2009 3:42:49 AM PDT by marktwain
The Weatherford home owner who shot and killed an intruder in March will not face criminal charges, a Parker County Grand Jury recently determined.
After hearing a full offense report, which included witness statements and evidence, jurors declined to indict the elderly shooter.
Weatherford police presented the case April 16. The homicide, which occurred in the 500 block of South Rusk Street, occurred shortly after 1 a.m. on March 4.
On the morning of the incident, Robert Earl Bardwell, 57, of Weatherford, was shot multiple times after police say he forced entry into a residence and started assaulting the elderly owners 34-year-old son.
The home owner, identified as a 66-year-old white male, reportedly attempted to warn Bardwell by firing one shot from an automatic pistol into the ceiling. However, when the assailant failed to heed the warning and continued to assault his son, police say the father shot the intruder several times, fatally wounding him.
According to police, Bardwell was estranged from a relationship with a female subject in the home at the time of the incident.
Following the incident, police declined to identify the shooter and his son because neither man was arrested.
The warning shot is questionable, but since the other party pressed on, well, no excuses for him after that.
Good shooting (except for the warning shot).
You should also note that this occurred in Texas. :D
That generally does not happen in Texas self defense cases, not even in Democrat counties.
Also, the Texas grand jury system is a little bit different than it is in Ohio. Jury nullification is alive and well and enshrined in law here.
Just finished being the foreman on a Grand Jury in Ohio.
Curious what you mean by “Jury nullification is alive and well here.”
Gotta love the title of the article though. Sheesh.
Why was this even brought before the Grand Jury?
For example, I personally will never vote to convict on a charge of having ("to keep") or carrying ("and bear") a gun ("arms") because I believe a law against it is a bad law ("shall not be infringed").
The effect of such an acquittal is "precedent"; it becomes more difficult to convict others of similar charges, and eventually the law is no longer applied and "nullified".
Harold Fish is still in jail after the legislature passed laws three times to get him a new trial. The first time the judge said the law did not apply because it was ex post facto, and the second and third times the law was vetoed by former Arizona governor and current head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.
Here is a link to get some details of the case:
I have also read that in TX if a Grand Jury determines that a homicide case is self-defense, the deceased perp’s relatives can’t file a wrongful death civil suit against the shooter. Is this true?
I do not know if that is the law in Texas. Perhaps someone on the forum can clarify the matter.
The homicide, which occurred in the 500 block of South Rusk Street~
Following the incident, police declined to identify the shooter and his son because neither man was arrested.I can't believe everyone missed that.. Sorry to say, but it's the sleazy 'hidden' way that a Demo rag would get the info he/she wanted to get out. Who needs pics and a police report when you have their address!?
Yep. The only time you will ever hear this Joe 6-pack claim to have fired a warning shot is if I have to come up with an excuse for missing my intended target.
I have also read that in TX if a Grand Jury determines that a homicide case is self-defense, the deceased perps relatives cant file a wrongful death civil suit against the shooter. Is this true?I don't know any of the updated laws... but I DO know that one of the reasons I got out of LE and changed careers was, back then, if you shot and killed or maimed a person (criminal in the act) that was armed and dangerous (meaning that an innocent or an LE), being hurt or killed, the family of the criminal could take the LE(me or another participating LE involved) to civil court and drain your paycheck for the rest of your life. (and THAT was in Texas)
This is correct: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/CP/htm/CP.83.htm
Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.
This was added in 2007. There was a similar provision before that (which is still in effect), but it requires a conviction: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SOTWDocs/CP/htm/CP.86.htm
Sec. 86.002. RECOVERY OF DAMAGES FOR INJURY TO CONVICTED PERSON PROHIBITED. (a) A claimant who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor may not recover damages for an injury sustained during the commission of the felony or misdemeanor if the injury would not have been sustained but for the commission of the felony or misdemeanor.
This provision of law also has prohibitions against derivative claims by family members and also assesses any cost of defense against the claimant.
In Texas, the prosecutor has two choices (and sometimes doesn’t have a choice at all). He can choose not to prosecute, in which case the shooter may face civil action. Unlikely and there are many barriers to that, but it can happen and will be a problem until the case eventually gets tossed by a judge.
He can also present it to the Grand Jury. In many counties, there isn’t a choice, all homicides (justified or not) are placed before the Grand Jury whether or not the prosecutor actually wants to file charges. This is actually a good thing; if the Grand Jury “no-bills” or refuses to indict, it ends the threat of civil lawsuit against the shooter.
This is why Joe Horn (the Houston man who shot two burglars on his lawn) isn’t facing mass lawsuits from the burglars’ families and the local race baiters - since the Grand Jury issued a “no-bill” and declared that no crime occurred, no civil lawsuit can occur.
Thanks for the detailed answers.
It makes some sense now.
Could easily have been an afterthought, to make things look better for the shooter. Unless you do it after a significant time lapse, witnesses would not notice the pause.
Something to consider...
In Texas the warning shot can be fired directly into the assailant’s forehead.
The reason for the No Bill is often the unstated "He needed killin'".
Warning shots are not recommended in Texas as they may endanger people downrange.
It’s also wasting ammo.
Texas Grand Juries have also been known to do things like take up collections to buy the now-cleared shooter a better or larger caliber gun.
Come on, now. Texans *never* hit anything but what they are aiming at. Surely everyone knows this by now. ;-)