The life-altering sequence of events for the ex-police officer in this true-crime case began when he and his wife took their 18-year-old daughter to a homeless shelter because she’d become too difficult to parent.
After a few days, the concerned father checked his daughter’s Facebook page to see if she’d posted an update. It surprised him to see she claimed to be in a relationship.
He stepped over the line when he asked a records clerk at the police department to run a check on the boy’s history. The young man’s name was in the system for having been abused as a child. He had no criminal record. The officer noted the boy’s address, went home, changed into dark clothes, and readied his personal .357 revolver. After dark, he drove to the address where he found the boy and his daughter on the front porch of the home.
The daughter and her new boyfriend went to the street to talk with her father. The daughter rebuffed him and returned to the porch. Her boyfriend remained near the father in the street. It’s unknown if the two men exchanged words, but the father/off-duty officer pulled his revolver and shot the boy, causing his death.
At first, he fled the scene and ditched his vehicle, but eventually turned himself in—his attorney took the weapon to the police department. Later at his trial, the officer testified that he’d chosen to take a revolver with him because there wouldn’t be shell casings at the scene.
In his first, second, and third trial, the juries couldn’t reach a verdict. The fourth trial ended with a heat-of-passion, first-degree manslaughter conviction and a judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison. He filed and won an appeal based on jurisdictional grounds that the trial should have been in federal court.
At the fifth trial, in federal court, a jury found the ex-officer guilty of using a firearm in the commission of a crime and second-degree murder. A U.S. District judge sentenced the 61-year-old to 25 years in prison and ordered him to pay restitution to the family for the cost of a headstone for the victim. Most likely, he will file another appeal.
After the sentencing, a U.S. Attorney’s Office representative said,
“This serves as a reminder that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will hold individuals accountable for acts of violence in our community.”
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, The New York Times, People, Tulsa World