Skip to comments.Charges dropped in St. Albans shooting that left two dead(WV)
Posted on 10/14/2011 6:18:15 AM PDT by marktwain
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Prosecutors have agreed to drop the murder charges against a St. Albans man accused of gunning down two people in August, and will not seek any more charges in the case.
Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants said Wednesday that the evidence in Charlie Booker's case indicates that he shot and killed Joseph E. Miller and Billy Dodd in self-defense after the two men, carrying deadly weapons, confronted him in front of his wife and son.
"He had a reasonable belief that his life was in danger," Plants said during a news conference. "Based on that, there's not a crime."
On Aug. 6, Booker, 41, shot Miller twice in his side and Dodd twice in the chest and four times in the back after one of the men struck him on the head with a metal baton outside of a home on Vine Street.
Booker, who sustained a four-inch gash on his forehead from the baton, has maintained since his arrest that he shot the men in self-defense.
A third man, Rock Linkenhoker, was also involved in the altercation, but was not wounded. Along with the metal riot stick, prosecutors say that another of the men was holding a knife, and the third a claw hammer. At one point, Booker's alleged attackers tried to retrieve a gun, but failed, said Troy Giatras, Booker's lawyer.
"This citizen was defending himself, he was defending his family," Plants said. "He returned deadly force with deadly force."
The men allegedly confronted Booker while trying to find the driver of a car that had sped through the neighborhood earlier that evening. Booker was visiting the home of a family friend and said he had never seen the men before.
Prosecutors say the evidence is not clear on who made the first move, but after Booker was struck with the baton, he had a reason to retaliate for fear of his life.
The deadly fight lasted just a few seconds. Booker pulled out a 9 mm handgun and began firing as he backed away. Dodd's four bullet wounds to the back were a result of him turning and falling to the ground during the gunfire.
There is no evidence to suggest that Booker was unlawfully carrying the firearm, Plants said, so no other charges will be filed.
After the incident, Booker immediately surrendered to police and cooperated with the investigation, his lawyer said. He spent just more than a month in jail, before Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom set bond for his release.
"It's been stressful," Booker told the Gazette Wednesday. "A lot of sleepless nights."
Booker's co-workers, friends and family members filled the courtrooms during each of his court appearances in the past month.
"I had a lot of support. I just believed everything was going to be alright," Booker said. "I'm just working toward trying to put it behind me."
Giatras thanked the prosecutor's office and the police for investigating the case quickly and professionally.
Prosecutors have already filed a motion to dismiss Booker's charges. Giatras said Booker's home confinement ankle bracelet would be removed the day after a judge grants the motion.
That was a screwup by the stupid prosecutor.
Now, hopefully a lawsuit against the prosecutor and the city.
West Virginia recently, 2008/2009 passed a very broad Castle Doctrine/No Duty to Retreat bill. Unfortunately, some liberal prosecutors like to pretend it doesn’t exist. They are getting slapped down more and more by the courts. But, in cases like this one, it punishment by process. This guy spent a month in jail on charges the prosecutors KNEW couldn’t stand up in court.
If I was on the jury, he’d get a big paycheck from the county for the unlawful confinement and a handshake for good shooting.
Prosecutors usually have immunity. They would have had to pull a Nifong to lose immunity.
Four times in the back sounds excessive, at least to a prosecutor, but I completely approve. If a man is worth shooting, he's worth shooting again until he's clearly no longer a threat. When the criminal stopped moving, with six 9mm holes in his body, it was reasonable for the victim to stop fearing for his life. The best part is that he hit eight times in a few seconds, and all eight shots seem to have been more or less center of mass. That solved the problem with both of these attackers.