The beating death of a Texas man who was allegedly sexually assaulting a 5-year-girl will be treated as a homicide investigation, the Lavaca County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
Words have meanings:
homicide (hom-ə-sid), n. (14c) 1. The killing of one person by another. [Cases: Homicide 500.] 2.A person who kills anotherHOMICIDE, Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009), homicide
That’s the definition from Black’s Law Dictionary. Put your Webster’s away, it doesn’t count here: we’re dealing with legal decisions, we use the law dictionary. The first comment after that entry states:
“The legal term for killing a man, whether lawfully or unlawfully, is ‘homicide.’ There is no crime of ‘homicide.’ Unlawful homicide at common law comprises the two crimes of murder and manslaughter. Other forms of unlawful homicide have been created by statute: certain new forms of manslaughter (homicide with diminished responsibility, and suicide pacts), infanticide, and causing death by dangerous driving.” Glanville Williams, Textbook of Criminal Law 204 (1978).
Yes, this was a homicide. On first glance, it looks to be a completely justified homicide (matter of fact, we’d be willing to take up a collection to get daddy a concealed carry permit and a large-bore handgun), but it’s still a homicide. Let’s not all go to pieces and say the sheriff is persecuting the guy for calling it a homicide.
Quoth the story further:
“At this time, I believe the homicide investigation should be sent to the grand jury,” Heather McMinn, the Lavaca County District Attorney, said in the statement. She went on to say the sheriff was correct not to arrest the father at the time of the incident, but “all evidence surrounding this homicide will be presented to the grand jury as soon as possible.”
Texas criminal procedure requires that all homicides be referred to the grand jury for review. Now, we reckon it’ll take that same grand jury about ten minutes to no-bill daddy–about nine-and-a-half of which will be spent figuring out how to write the award citation to go with the carry permit and the pistol–but it still has to go to the grand jury. Again, the sheriff isn’t saying Daddy Done Wrong, he’s just following the rules as they’re meant to be followed. Expect daddy to walk away a free man, assuming no other evidence comes up.
Here endeth the lesson.