A Georgia man will not be charged for shooting and killing a 72-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease believing him to be a robber, Think Progress reported on Friday.
Walker County District Attorney Herbert Franklin told Think Progress that he interviewed the shooter, 35-year-old Joe Hendrix, who believed he was acting in self-defense at the time.
“In Georgia, the prosecution bears the burden of disproving a self defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt. After looking at the facts from Hendrix’ perspective, it would be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hendrix did not reasonably act in self defense.”
Hendrix shot and killed Ronald Westbrook in November 2013 after spotting him attempting to enter his fiancee’s home. The unidentified woman called police while Hendrix grabbed his gun and stepped outside.
Franklin also released a statement saying that Hendrix yelled at the victim, Ronald Westbrook, to stop, and then to come to him. Westbrook allegedly did not respond, but then began advancing toward him in what Hendrix called “a quick and aggressive manner.”
“Hendrix could only see a silhouette figure carrying a cylindrical object in his hand but could not make out anything else,” Franklin’s statement read. “Hendrix shouted at Westbrook to stop. Westbrook made no verbal response but continued to advance towards Hendrix in the same manner. Hendrix retreated to the front of the house. Hendrix was afraid that if the man got by him, his girlfriend in the house would be defenseless. Hendrix shot 3 to 4 times.”
State law allows for homeowners to use deadly force if they believe their own lives are in danger, a practice known as the “Castle Doctrine.”
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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